Category: Campaign

MUNICIPAL ELECTIONS

MUNICIPAL ELECTIONS

The Spanish municipal elections are held every 4 years and in Spain the next ones will be on Sunday 26 May 2019. 

There are over 1,000 seats in the 38 Provincial Deputations, over 8,000 Municipalities (boroughs) and over 67,000 Councillors to be elected.

In the Spanish municipal elections immigrants belonging to the EU and resident in Spain are able to vote.  You must be at least 18 years old and registered on the Electoral Census.  

Immigrants from other countries – Bolivia, Colombia, Chile, Ecuador, Perú, Paraguay, Trinidad and Tobago, Norway, Iceland, Cape Verde, New Zealand and the Republic of Korea are also able to vote provided:

  • They are of age
  • They are legal residents in Spain during at least 5 years at the time of registering on the Electoral Census, except in the case of Norway which require 3 years and people from New Zealand are entitled to vote without an attached minimum time restriction
  • They can vote solely in the borough where they live and where they are on the Padrón.

For anybody to vote in the local elections it is essential that you are on the Padrón in the borough where you live and registered on the Electoral Census.  This has to be done by December 2018.  It is not sufficient to just be on the Padrón, you must also apply at your local town hall to be on the electoral register.

Some weeks before the elections the Electoral Office will send a voting card by post to all citizens who are registered. This card will show where you have to go to vote, the section and the electoral table. You will need to take your NIE and Passport (not copies).  Postal votes are also possible but more on that nearer the time.

WHY IS IT IMPORTANT TO VOTE IN THE LOCAL ELECTIONS?

In the first place, your vote counts, the same as everybody else’s and it is unique to you – it is YOUR way of expressing your opinion.  You are voting on who will represent your borough, the political party, elected Mayor and his team of Councillors.  

From central government each borough is allocated (as per the number who are on the Padrón) an amount of money to spend on the locality – emergency services (police, ambulance, fire), medical centres, schools, roads and paths, parks and gardens, public transport, the elderly, animal welfare, beaches, general improvements, staffing of public services, ferias etc so your vote will determine how pleasant, well kept and convenient your surroundings will be.  We all want to live in beautifully maintained surroundings so your vote is important.

The date in May 2019 is 2 months after we cease to officially be EU citizens so it is very likely that we will not be able to vote.  For those of us who have been here longer than 15 years, we cannot vote in the UK elections, as a non-EU citizen we will not be able to vote in the EU elections nor in the local Spanish elections.  We shall be totally disenfranchised!  

Our British Ambassador in Spain is helping us with this and has already forwarded copies of our campaign to number 10, Cabinet Office, DexEU and the Foreign & Commonwealth Office and he has raised it with the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs.  We need to continue to raise awareness with the Spanish councils and then, with their support, take it to the top!

Although we have a lot of support for this so far, we need you to show your support for our campaign to allow us to vote in the Spanish local elections, time is of the essence so go to our website www.brexpats.es download the letter, add your name and NIE and forward to your local town hall – we are asking the UK and Spain to constitutionally recognise our right to vote.  

OUR CAMPAIGN – VOTING RIGHTS.

OUR CAMPAIGN – VOTING RIGHTS.

OUR LOCAL VOTING RIGHTS IN SPAIN – how can you help?

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As of 29 March 2019 and officially non-EU citizens, we probably won’t be able to vote in the Spanish local elections in May 2019 and those British residents here who have so ably represented us on Spanish local councils may well find themselves prohibited from standing in the municipal elections after our departure from the EU, despite being wanted on their local council and nominated in December / January.

This right to vote here has not been properly considered yet so we need to ensure that the situation is identified and solved well before the end of this year. It looks like Spain and the UK will need to sign a bilateral agreement which will enable us to vote in the Spanish local elections and vice versa post-March 2019. 

Spain already has a bilateral arrangement with a number of other non-EU countries and we want them to agree the same arrangement for us as British residents in Spain. We have received no resistance to this proposal yet from any Council we have spoken to so how can you help?

Our British Ambassador has already raised it with the Spanish MFA and with London – No 10, Cab Off, DexEU and FCO. 

We need to raise awareness and gain support for this here and time is pressing so please go to our website www.brexpats.es and copy and forward the letter written in Spanish to your local Town Hall.  

Together we can make this happen!

TRANSLATION OF LETTER –

As you all know, on 29 March 2019 the UK will leave the EU.  From that date, the British will cease to be citizens of the EU.

We are many British residents here in Spain and we want to continue with the right to vote in the local elections but as non-EU citizens, it is likely we will not be able to.  Furthermore, there are many British Councillors in the Spanish Town Halls who represent us here and they will not be able to offer themselves for election.

Since 2011 Spain already has bilateral agreements with other countries – Bolivia, Cape Verde, Chile, Columbia, South Korea, Ecuador, Iceland, Norway, New Zealand, Paraguay, Peru and Trinidad and Tobago for whom reciprocal voting rights are recognized in the local elections and we want the same agreement and for it to be constitutionally recognised.

We need the help of all the Spanish boroughs to be able to achieve this and that is why we request your help.

 

BREXPATS-VOTING-RIGHTS-letter-to-town-halls

 

 

Our Local Voting Rights in Spain

Our Local Voting Rights in Spain

 

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There is a problem on the horizon that until very recently has been ignored, forgotten or just overlooked.  It is also an issue that some expats living here permanently don’t understand or maybe even care about but it is vital to our continued lifestyle in Spain and our integration into the Spanish life.

Despite the fact that the UK government has promised to restore our voting rights as expats for life it probably won’t happen until 2024. So for many of us we won’t be able to vote in the next election in the UK or maybe even the one after that and that is assuming it goes through Parliament in the first place.

Now what has been ignored or missed is that as of 29 March 2019 we probably also won’t be able to vote in the Spanish local elections in May 2019.

Worse still, those British expat residents who have so ably represented us on Spanish local councils may well find themselves prohibited from standing in the municipal elections after our departure from the EU on 29 March, despite being wanted on their local council and nominated in December / January.

So, no vote in the UK if out of the country for 15+ years, no vote in the EU elections and now no vote in the municipal elections here in Spain. We will be completely disenfranchised! It begs the question as to quite what we British residents in the EU stand for even though we proudly retain and defend our British passports.

This right to vote here has not been properly considered yet so we need to ensure that the situation is identified and solved well before the end of this year. It looks like Spain and the UK will need to sign a bilateral agreement which will enable us to vote in the Spanish local elections and vice versa post-March 2019. We’re also aware of the limited time we have left to sort this given the local elections in May 2019. 

Spain already has a bilateral arrangement with a number of other non-EU countries (Bolivia, Cape Verde, Chile, Columbia, South Korea, Iceland, Ecuador, Norway, New Zealand, Paraguay, Peru and Trinidad and Tobago) for voting in local elections. Both the UK and Spanish government have been made aware of how important and time sensitive this is.

BREXPATS IN SPAIN will be commencing a nationwide campaign to raise awareness of this issue. We will be working with Mayors, councils, local, national and international press and media, the English, Spanish and the EU. We are ably supported by the Ciudadanos, the Spanish political party, and have individual support from countless Spanish mayors but we need to also petition the UK government MP’s and parties.

This is a major task and we will need your support! You will be able to help us over the coming months without too much effort. Over the next few weeks please make sure you are registered on our website and keep watching for further details.

IF YOU LIVE IN SPAIN, HELP US TO HELP YOU!

Anne Hernández, President BREXPATS IN SPAIN 

Richard T Hill, Vice President BREXPATS IN SPAIN

https://elpais.com/elpais/2018/03/26/inenglish/1522053686_520168.html