Saturday, November 11, 2006

 

Local Elections in May 2007


The Vote

There remains some confusion about foreign nationals being able to vote in local elections in Spain next year (May 27th, 2007).
All those members of EU countries who are over eighteen and are registered on their town hall registry, the padrón, may vote (and, indeed, run for office) as long as they have signed the voting-form sent out by the INE (the National Institute for Statistics that is also the Election Office).
Norwegians may vote, but not stand for office (a bi-lateral agreement with this non-EU country stands).
Romanians and Bulgarians may vote and also run for office (these countries join the EU on January 1st 2007).
If you signed the form in 2003, then you will remain on the electoral list.
Some EU citizens have already filled out their voting-form expressing their wish NOT to vote. This can be remedied for those who have had second thoughts, by returning to the town hall and re-applying for their right to vote from the person who runs the registry (in Mojácar, it’s Carmen).
Copies of these forms (for those on the padrón, who wish, or now wish, to vote and haven’t signed a form) are available at the office of The New Entertainer, in the COPE Radio tower at the Parque Comercial on Mojácar beach. These are a formal declaration of one’s right to vote in local and European elections.
Copies also available from the British Embassy at http://www.ukinspain.com/

Why Vote?

To live in a community must suppose one’s support and interest in that community’s future. That your town or neighbourhood is safe, clean, quiet, secure and attractive (is it?). That there are enough doctors, teachers, police, postmen, garbagemen, gardeners and so on (are there?). That your community has enough parking spaces, green spaces, cultural offers, electricity, sewage, water, sports stadia and so on (does it?). That your nationality is represented in the town hall: where people will speak your language and understand your concerns (no comprendo?). That the amount of speculative building is strictly controlled so that your community grows naturally and your property increases in value (does it?).
Those who can vote but won’t make the effort are, in effect, against integration and improving their surroundings.

Who to vote for.

There will be a variety of parties looking for your support. Most (if not all) will have similar programs (everything to be better, cleaner, taller…). Both local-issue parties as well as national parties (Conservative PP, socialist PSOE, nationalist PA, communist IU etc) will be seeking power. In most municipalities, two, three or four parties would seek office, although famously, in Mojácar there were nine parties in 2003.
A party with some British candidates on its list (in high position if they are to get into the town hall) would be a useful start...

A Party

A party will produce a list of names (the number of council seats plus a couple of spare names – in Mojácar, a total of thirteen plus two). These fifteen names will be a list for Party X. Party Y and Party Z will also produce their own lists. The number of votes counted at the election will produce a harvest of names from each list. These names become the new councillors. The parties will then decide on the new mayor and balance of power according to their strength in numbers. In the event of a majority (seven or more out of thirteen), the party concerned takes office. The first name on their list being the mayor, the following names being the new councillors. Roughly, if there were thirteen hundred votes counted for thirteen seats, then every one hundred votes would produce a councillor. The voter will bring his passport or another I.D. (with photograph) and he then votes by choosing a candidature from the different parties running for office (a white paper with the party name and its list of candidates) and then placing that in an envelope and then into the ballot box.

Timing

European citizens have to be on the padrón and to have claimed their right to vote at least four months before Voting Day (May 27th 2007) so should have completed their papers by mid January. After this cut-off date, the Election Board (INE) will post a list of all those who have the right to vote. This may be amended but not added to.

Feel free to use this article..

Comments:
Any idea on how one becomes a candidate?

My wife wants to stand!
 
There are two ways, either join an existing party - or start one yourself.
An existing party would have its own 'seniority' and ideas about who would go where on their 'list'. The higher you are on the list, the better chance of getting in. If, as here, you were a foreigner, then strategists might put you a little higher up the list in order to get 'the foreign vote'.
It's pretty interesting, and a good way to get to learn a lot about Spanish life. However, I don't yet know what the Spaniards would think of a foreign consejero.
Starting a new party is feasable, you have I think until Chrismas to register one with the ministerio del interior with three signatures on the articles stamped by a notary.
 
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