THE expat vote could have X-Factor repercussions in town halls up and down Spain, raising foreigners themselves to the hot seats of power.
With the huge number of expats living on the Costa del Sol and throughout Andalucia, the ‘guri vote’ could be a deciding factor in some marginal municipalities, when it comes to the final ballot count.
Unlike in many countries, where mayors are merely ceremonial showpieces, in Spain they often wield huge power in local government. Marbella’s disgraced mayor, the late Jesus Gil (along with one or two of his successors) are cases in point.
For this reason a number of expats are planning not only to vote in the upcoming elections but are putting their own names forward for office.
Dean Tyler Shelton, representing the IU, is one expat in the running in Manilva.
“Foreigners make for 42% of the registered population of Manilva and probably reach somewhere between 50% and 70% of the total IBI council tax income from which council workers and politicians are paid their wages,” he told the Olive Press.
“In my book that should make it an absolute necessity that we should not only vote in the local elections but that we should also participate in governance.
“I’m a great believer that If you don’t use your right to vote then you can hardly complain when things don’t get done in the way you would like them to be.”
Meanwhile expat Maura Hillen, the number two candidate for the PSOE in Albox, passionately agrees.
“If you have no representation in that mix, then your interests go unnoticed,” she said.
“And if you choose to become utterly invisible by failing to exercise your right to vote, then you do not matter at all.”
Meanwhile, in Mojacar, expats Jessica Simpson and Lenox Napier are both in the running with their party, Somos Mojacar.
Napier told the Olive Press that he is standing because expats ‘must participate in local society, or forever be seen as guiris’.