España

Spanish general elections: Begging for a second chance to vote

After the general election on 20 December resulted in no one of the four main parties -the  Polular party (PP), the Socialis Workers´ party (PSOE), Ciudadanos and Podemos- with a clear majority, and the impossibility of agreement to form a coalition, Spain will be force to face new general election next 26 June.

This situation means not just a new investment in resources for another Election campaign , but also a new odyssey for those Spanish that are currently abroad: to beg for their right to vote.

Even if every Spanish embassy explain the easy steps that they have to follow to be able to vote the situation is completely different, becoming what should me a straightforward procedure in a non-stop administrative nightmare.

Maria Aguilar, 23 years old , working on an European project in Greece is just one of many Spaniards that have tried to be part of this democratic process without any result.

“I have been in the Spanish embassy many times trying to reach the consul, calling him repeatedly, but after many weeks of unsuccessful bureaucracy I just gave up” she admit.

Others like Minerva Galvañ (22) ,working  in Rumania for over a year, has to deal for second with this process.

“The embassy told me that I had to be register as resident three months in advance what it is not written anywhere, so I´ve just opted to contact with someone that gave me his vote” she said.

This has become a common practice to those who can´t send their own ballots: contact with a Spanish resident in the country that has decided not to vote and give them the chance to do it.

Marea Granate (Maroon Wave), one of the non-partisian organization engaged with the 15-M movement, has helped to create this contact network between expatraites and residents, and also to provide information about their real rights to those 2,300,000 Spanish abroad.

marea
Maroon Wave webside main page

And this problematic looks unable to be solved in a short-time period due to the Electoral Law reform 2/2011 that, according to an study from the website  DOS MILLONES DE VOTOS, ” has decreased the number of expatriate votes from 31,88% in 2008 to 4,95% in the 2011 General Election”.

Meanwhile, the situation seems to repeat the same patter in this elections, where the electoral census has accepted just 155.165 ballots over the million of Spanish out of the country that have requested to vote next Sunday 26.

However, the past Austrian General Elections shown the power that expatriate’s votes can make in the final elections results, when the leader of the Green Party Alexander Van der Bellen defeated The Austrian Freedom party (FPÖ)of Norbert Hofer  after than 700,000 postal ballots were taken into account.

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