Where was our vote? Election excludes expats from democratic process

‘No taxation without representation’ was the rallying call of the American Revolution and, while circumstances have changed, the principle remains true to this day. 

Spain has captured the world’s attention with an historic election that shattered the bleak two-party hegemony dominating politics since 1970. 

Amid all the controversy and chaos, however, huge numbers of expatriate residents have been left without any democratic representation at a time when real change is finally in the air. 

The Costa del Sol, part of Malaga Province, voted in droves for the ruling PP, with the ruling party claiming victories in Marbella, Fuengirola, Benalmadena and Mijas.

Nationwide, however, the PP majority was eradicated overnight as insurgent campaigns from newcomers Podemos and Ciudadanos made a labyrinth of the Madrid Congress. Negotiations, coalitions, compromises and controversy are certain to capture future headlines, and, as the parties vie for supremacy they will give little thought to the non-voting population. 

Only Spanish citizens can vote, which means more than three million residents are not entitled to a say on how their affairs will be run, almost one million of them British. 

The entry of the 15 per cent of the Spanish population who are immigrants into the political system would be an earthquake of mammoth proportions but is a crucial part of the move towards full democracy promised 30 years ago. 

History tells us that no one was ever freely given the right to vote, so it is time that residents who consider Spain their home stand up and demand to be counted. 

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    • Brian White

      24 December 2015 • 21:11

      Suffrage, the right to vote in a particular country, generally derives from citizenship. In most countries, the right to vote is reserved to those who possess the citizenship of the country in question.

      It should be remembered that Spanish citizens living in the UK can’t vote in the British General Election, so why should non-Spanish citizens, and Brits, in particular, have a vote in the General Election in Spain?

      What makes the Brits so special here?????

    • Robert Segal

      07 January 2016 • 09:01

      You express indignation about expats being unable to vote in national elections. In England EU residents can only vote in local elections and to vote for national government one must be a citizen of the country, If immigrants wish to have a say in the running of Spain they should become citizens or continue to enjoy life here and leave national votes to those qualified to do so.


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