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British residents in Spain have just a week to register to vote in forthcoming elections

Tuesday 22nd January 2019


With the confirmation that Spain and the United Kingdom have signed a deal to guarantee that Spanish and British citizens living in each other's country will be able to have voting rights after the UK's withdrawal from the European Union, it is probably more important than ever for British residents living in Xàbia to ensure that they are registered to vote in the forthcoming local elections. And they only have until the end of this month to do so.

The voting rights accord was signed on Monday 21st January, the first bilateral agreement to be confirmed between the UK and one of the EU's 27 member states, no doubt due to the number of British citizens registered as living in Spain, around 293,500, the largest British population in any EU country. Under the agreement, British citizens resident in Spain will continue to be able to vote and run for office in local elections after March 29th 2019, the scheduled date of the UK's withdrawal from the EU.  They will also be able to take part in European Parliament elections. Spanish citizens living in the UK, which number around 174,000, will be granted corresponding rights for UK local elections.

Under the terms of the agreement, British citizens who have been registered as resident in the country for at least three years and listed on the Electoral Census of Foreigners Resident in Spain will be eligible although this doesn't apply for the forthcoming 2019 local and European elections. The agreement was approved by the Spanish Cabinet last week and although it still has to pass through parliament, it will be put into place on a provisional basis as soon as the UK leaves with EU, whether it be at the end of March as initially planned and with or without an agreement.

Some 90,000 British citizens are registered to vote in Spain, less than a third of those registered as living in the country. Those who are not registered and wish to vote in both the forthcoming local elections as well as the European Parliament elections, both of which will be taking place at the end of May, have just a week to get onto the register since Wednesday 30th January is the closing date for registration.

In Xàbia this can be done so through the OAC facilities in Portal del Clot. Be aware that being registered on the Padrón does not mean that you will automatically be listed on the electoral register. If in any doubt, head to the OAC and check now. If you have previously voted, you will already be on the register but if you have any concerns, again head down to the OAC now before it's too late.


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