Expats in Spain rush to stand as candidates in local elections

Published:  24 May at 6 PM
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Dozens of expatriates living in the popular Andalusia region’s towns and villages are queuing up to register as candidates in upcoming local elections.

The current election year is expected to be the most diverse in decades, with expats from the UK, Scandinavia and a good number of other northern European states now included on local political party lists. Local elections in Spain are vital, with almost 50 per cent of Andalusia’s coastal resorts comprising sizeable expat communities. Apart from the EU MEP elections, local polls are the only means by which expats can make their views heard.

One would-be councillor standing as a PP party candidate in Mijas believes expat votes for expat candidates will make a real difference in the election. Local English language media columnist Bill Anderson is a former UK political strategist and is running in tandem with the local mayor. The main points of their campaign are improving animal welfare, reducing bureaucracy and encouraging transparency. Another would-be councillor is former Londoner Chloe Gavin, a resident in Periana for 19 years who’s hoping to boost tourism and improve the expat community’s integration in the region.

In nearby Arenas village, Brits Simon and Anne Hewitt are also running with the PP party as they feel they have a need to stand up for something they can believe in, and British businessman Darren Sands chose to stand with the same party in Marbella. Founder of Brexpats in Spain and Mijas resident Anne Hernandez is putting her faith in the newly formed Movimiento Vecinal Mijeno, with her platform including Brexit, the environment and animal welfare. In Manilva, a town with a 50 per cent expat population, Dutch businesswoman Kaat Buelens is competing against the current British local councillor Dean Shelton, as she feels her town needs more improvement.
n addition to the high number of expats hoping to be elected as local councillors, many candidates from the Andalusian gypsy community are also pushing for election in order to put an end to the systemic discrimination and xenophobia they’ve battled for many years, if not centuries.
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