9 May, 2023 @ 15:45
1 min read

Many British nationals in Spain’s Costa Blanca fail to register to vote in May council elections

Many British nationals in Spain's Costa Blanca fail to register to vote in May council elections
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COUNCIL elections on May 28 will see fewer British expats voting in the Vega Baja area of Alicante province because they failed to re-register by the mid-January deadline.

Figures from the Electoral Census compiled by the National Statistics Institute(INE) are showing a substantial fall in non-Spanish participation in the elections with local mayors and councils putting it down to lower British registrations.

One of the consequences of Brexit is that British residents who had previously registered with local town hall electoral roll lists, now have to go through the same process every four years, rather than being automatically included.

A sizeable number- for whatever reason- did not renew their details earlier this year and now cannot vote.

One example is San Fulgencio which includes the large La Marina urbanisation with a strong British presence.

In the 2019 municipal elections, 57% of the San Fulgencio electorate was of foreign origin, while this time the percentage has fallen to 38%, accounting for 1,728 non-Spaniards.

San Fulgencio councillor, Darren Parmenter, said: “Many people didn’t know what to do and we as a council publicised registration information while Alicante Provincial Council representatives held meetings in the area to explain what needed to be done.”

Darren Parmenter

In other areas, there have been major falls with Algorfa now having foreign voters accounting for just 20% of the electorate; 19% in Rojales; 18% in Benijofar: and down to just 8% in Los Montesinos.

The mayor of San Miguel de Salinas, Juan de Dios Fresneda, has predicted problems on polling day- May 28- with registered foreign voters now down to 11% in his municipality.

“We will see people turning out to polling stations that have voted for years who will discover for the first time that they are not on the register.”

Juan De Dios Fresneda

He said that many British expats ‘are not very active politically’ and only go to the Town Hall to make a complaint if something affects their neighbourhood.

Darren Parmenter agreed: “There are many retirees who are not interested in politics but are enjoying their lives and will prefer to spend May 28 on the beach.”

Despite the Olive Press and other media and council outlets publicising on how to register to vote, it appears many people have missed out on a fundamental right to express their view on who should be running their local services.


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