Spain’s ruling Partido Popular national government wants British citizens in Spain to be able to continue voting in local elections after Brexit, according to a report in the El País newspaper.
El País quoted an unnamed senior source within the PP as saying:- “We are going to ask that they should continue to be allowed to vote. We want them to preserve their political rights.”
The options being considered by the PP, according to El País, are: voting rights as part of the final Brexit deal, an extension of existing rights, or a bilateral “reciprocity agreement” on the matter between Spain and the UK, to maintain voting rights for residents who have been in the country for a certain amount of time.
El País stated that the man leading the drive is the PP’s European spokesman Esteban González Pons, with the party allegedly concerned that UK voters who support the PP in regions like Valencia and Andalucia would be lost to them.
Some municipalities on the Costa Blanca have more foreign residents on the padrón as opposed to Spanish nationals, though the number of UK people officially registered in Spain is down to around 300 thousand, despite the fact that UK-owned homes amount to over a million.
Despite being on the padrón, people have to make sure that are on the electoral register, and there are also fears that UK citizens in Spain will not do so amidst the Brexit confusion.
A PP senator in the Andalucía region, Manual Marmolejo, told El País that people are “very worried” about the issue and “working against the clock to find a solution”.
Local elections are scheduled across Spain for May 2019, after Brexit takes place in March.