British expat hopes of right to vote dashed again by EU court

Published:  20 Sep at 6 PM
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The European Court of Human Rights has rejected 93-year-old UK expat Harry Schindler’s appeal against its former decision not to act on the law which prevents expats from voting after 15 years’ stay overseas.

The court’s decision has dismayed many thousands of UK expats who still have ties to the UKand may even be paying tax, owning property and visiting regularly. Schindler’s case is now dead in the water, although he has vowed to fight on for his own rights and those of his

The determined pensioner’s next move is to request the EC to take his case to the European Court of Justice. In the meantime, he is preparing the case for presentation to the United Nations.

His argument is that British law goes against the Universal Declaration of Human Rights' statement that all citizens are entitled to participate in their county’s government. Schindler is also angry over other decisions affecting him which are still being taken by the British government, such as their hardline position on state pensions and other benefits paid to expat retirees.

There’s no question, he says, that expats have far looser ties to their home country than residents, but the world has shrunk and an argument made 100 years ago is no longer valid. Schindler fought for his country during the second world war, and has been living for decades in Italy, where he met and married his wife. He has never taken Italian citizenship, meaning that he is disallowed from voting in Italian elections, and he’s been unable to vote in the UK due to the 15-year rule.
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