Wednesday, June 06, 2018

They Took Away Our Rights

Here is the letter from the Election Office to the Town Hall. It says that in 2019, there will be municipal elections and European elections both. Citizens of the European Union who are resident in Spain may participate and furthermore, in the municipal elections, nationals of the twelve countries who have a bilateral reciprocal-voting agreement with Spain.
In Mojácar, a recent push by the Town Hall asked, In English, all residents to be sure to be registered on the padrón, yet the notice failed to tell them that they should register as well to vote.
Because, it would appear, the British (the majority of our foreign residents) will not be able to vote.
Even if there was a bilateral arrangement with the UK, which became legal after Brexit (March 2019), there would not be time to add those residents onto the Electoral Roll, as this formality takes six months and the next elections will be in May 2019, just two months after Brexit.
Please do not think that the Spanish authorities would somehow make an exception for the British residents. They won't. 
It would also be the case that the British residents would not be able to stand for office. In Almería there are several British councillors (among others, Mojácar has Jessica Simpson, Bédar has Marian Simpson and Zurgena has Jim Simpson - not in any way related). Meanwhile, the Irish councillor for Albox, Maura Hillen, resigned this week in protest at the PSOE's intransigence in 'regularising' the huge crop of 'illegal homes' which, for some funny reason, only the British seem to own here...
Indeed, other European candidates that might create or join political lists would find their weight considerably lessened if the British residents lost their suffrage - the mayor of Alcaucín for example is a Belgian.  It seems unlikely he attained office purely thanks to the local Flemish vote.
If the local town hall doesn't take much notice of us when we can vote - it certainly won't take any notice if we can't!
What to do?
The British consul is holding a meeting in Mojácar later this month to tell us either of our reduced rights as future non-Europeans, or more likely to tell us that everything is just fine, don't worry and wave your flag brightly, By Gum.
In Mojácar we are just a couple of thousand (and many of these are either pro-Brexit or don't care who runs their town hall). In Spain, we British residents number, officially, 240,934 (and - to make the point - that's more than the entire population of the City of Granada!).
As we are cynically dropped into the dustbin by the politicians in London, Brussels and Madrid, maybe we could hold our own Parallel Election, with Ghost Candidates for an Alternate Town Hall and  a Guiri Headman.
And Morris Dancers too.
Anyone in?

He escrito algo sobre el tema en castellano aquí: 'Ciudadanos de tercera clase' en La Opinión de Almería.

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