Bilateral agreement gives Brit expats in Spain the vote

Published:  23 Jan at 6 PM
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Although Brexit is still sparking uncertainty in many popular Spanish expat hubs, Brits will now be allowed to vote in the country’s upcoming local elections.

Last Monday, a bilateral agreement between the UK and Spanish government was signed, allowing expats in both countries to vote in local elections. The agreement is the first of hopefully many such, and is especially relevant in Spain with its huge number of resident British expats, many of whom are active in local politics. Some 240,000 UK nationals will get the vote, along with 175,000 Spanish expats registered as living in the UK.

It’s to be hoped that the rest of the EU member states will agree to similar bilateral agreements, thus allowing Brit expats who’re staying on in EU countries to have their say or even take part in local government. UK expats wishing to vote should remember they’re only entitled after they’ve lived in Spain for three years. It’s also necessary to register your intent to vote, thus ensuring inclusion in the electoral roll.

The British vote is expected to be important in Murcia, as more than 13,000 Brits are registered at local padrons in 45 municipalities. For example, in Mazarron, British expats number 5,401, or 17 per cent of the population, with local political parties hoping their manifestos appeal to the Brit expat community more than those of their rivals. It’s much the same story in the Costas and generally across Andalusia, where the expat vote is likely to be essential.
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