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WHY LOCAL ELECTIONS ARE IMPORTANT TO YOU

6 min read

Montesinos Town Hall

Many Europeans who have made their homes in Spain feel strongly about their rights to vote in national and local elections of their home countries. Petitions have been made to Europe to extend the rights of British citizens for their right to vote in UK elections to be indefinite, irrespective of the time people have been living outside the United Kingdom.

Whilst many people who emigrate to other countries still have strong ties to the UK, especially in respect to taxation and pensions, many political decisions made in Westminster have virtually no consequence to the daily lives of people who have made their homes in Spain.

In contrast to the emotions shown about the rights to vote in UK elections many expats living in Spain are totally apathetic about their rights to vote in Spanish local elections. Figures produced by Diputacion de Alicante show that out of the vast British population living in the province only about 10% have actually ensured that their names are entered on the electoral list, how many of these actually vote is unknown.

Many expats are under the misapprehension that Spanish local politics are more or less similar to British local politics. In fact nothing could be further from the truth. All elections in Spain are based on proportional representation, not on elected representatives serving the needs of people living in a particular ward or constituency.

Each of the political parties have lists of names, ranked by their political party, this ranking is not made on the popularity to the voters of a particular individual. Names are placed on the lists depending on the ranking the political party gives to the person; this is often determined by the person’s activities within the political party, not their behaviour with constituents. Thus lists of prospective candidates can be composed of people living in one area whilst other huge areas are effectively disenfranchised. This has traditionally been the case on Orihuela Costa.

Traditionally the development, direction and fate of Orihuela Costa has been decided by politicians who have no real knowledge of the area. Planning decisions are made by councillors with no connection to the coast and go totally unchallenged by people who will be directly affected by these decisions. Orihuela councillors appreciate the crucial financial contributions made by coastal residents, the taxes and building licences contribute disproportionally to the coffers of Orihuela.

However when it comes to spending the revenue Orihuela Costa always loses out. Council provided services on the coast are poorer than those provided in small towns of less than 10,000 people, one only needs to compare the town of Montesinos to Orihuela Costa! This is directly attributable to the fact that Orihuela Costa residents are apathetic to local politics, they fail to get involved, they fail to register to vote and they fail to make their dissatisfaction known through the ballot box.

To ensure that Orihuela Costa receives the services normal in Spain it is important that the large numbers of people from the European Union ensure that they are registered to vote. Check your voting status at the Orihuela Town Hall. Discrimination of the Orihuela Costa will continue as long as expats continue their political apathy. Your community needs your vote.

Filed under: http://www.theleader.info/article/42446/

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