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Unidos Podemos wants foreigners to be able to vote in national elections
22 June 2016 @ 14:40

LEFT-WING coalition Unidos Podemos wants to change election laws if it gets into power, allowing foreigners living in Spain to vote.

At present, the country's more than five million immigrants – who include EU citizens, over 300,000 of whom are British – are only able to vote in local council and European Parliamentary elections.

Javier Sánchez Serna, MP for Unidos Podemos in the Murcia Region, says this situation – which is standard worldwide – is 'tremendously unfair'.

Migrants who are working, and those living on private or State pensions or any other independent income, pay their taxes in the same way as native or nationalised Spaniards do, Sánchez Serna says – but they have no say over who spends these taxes they pay or what they are spent on.

And children who move to Spain with their parents or are born in Spain to foreign parents will never be able to vote in a general or regional election in their lives.

“Anyone who gets up every morning to go to work so this country can prosper, and who pays their taxes here, should also have the guaranteed right to vote,” he insists.

“We want to reform the electoral law so that everyone who contributes to this country has the same rights, whether or not they were born here. We want a country which respects, and offers a fair and dignified way of life to, its immigrants.”

It is not clear as yet whether the changes would apply only to foreigners registered as legally working in Spain – be they self-employed or employed by a company – or whether it would extend to all foreign taxpayers, including retirees.

As well, Unidos Podemos wants to revive an old law which allows for 'humanitarian' visas to be given out, and for persons to be able to seek political asylum in Spanish embassies and Consulates in other countries.

Sánchez Serna says Unidos Podemos would reform asylum laws in order to create 'fair and dignified resettlement programmes' which ensure a 'lasting commitment and solution' from Spain.

Read more at thinkSPAIN.com



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