Friday, June 2, 2023

Post-Brexit confusion weighs down on British voters

In the region, Murcia is the municipality with the highest absolute number of resident foreign voters, with 2,270, followed by Mazarón, where 1,838 live foreigners who have the right to participate in local elections and who have processed their applications to do so. Done, as required by law. Mazarón is followed by San Javier with 759, Cartagena with 729 and Lorca with 595.

However, by specific weight, where foreign votes would have more influence would be in Mazaron. There, 9.6% of the voters called to vote are foreigners. In second place is Abanilla, where they account for 8.08% of the total electorate, and it is followed by Los Alcázares, Plaigo, San Javier and Aledo, where the percentage of foreign voters is more than 3%.

The weight of the foreign vote in Mazarón is so relevant that since the last elections the city council has a council dedicated to Camposol, the urbanism where the largest number of British citizens reside. The councilor in charge of the department, Italian Silvana Elisabetta Buxton, has warned that this year, the number of voters will be significantly reduced during the elections, as a result of the confusion caused by the changes brought about by ‘Brexit’ in the opinion of British citizens. «We calculate that we have some 3,500 foreigners who before ‘Brexit’ had the right to vote without the need to register. But for these elections it was necessary to request it in January. This is going to greatly affect the vote of foreigners in the municipality as many citizens of the United Kingdom did not know they had to do this,” says the councillor. Silvana, who is 75 and has lived in Mazarón with her husband since 2014, has become the voice of the English-speaking community in this urbanizing city where it is difficult to hear a word of Spanish. «I can communicate because I know the language and it is a little easier for me than English. It’s very difficult for them to learn it,” he says.

Language problem

For this reason, he points out, their participation in the political development of the municipality is reduced. «Language affects their knowledge of what happens in the municipality. They cannot read newspapers or watch television where local affairs are reported. Things that are normal for me, they can’t. That is why their knowledge is very limited, although what we try from the department is precisely to establish communication with them and inform them of what is being done,” explains Silvana.

“Many Britons have lost the right to vote because they were not aware of the changes. I think the established term, which requires notifying an intention to vote more than four months in advance, is too strict, he defends. Despite the already anticipated decline, Silvana still expects “a significant percentage of foreigners” going to the polls, be they British or other European nationalities such as German or Dutch. “Many citizens have contacted me, so I hope they participate.”

Nation World News Desk
Nation World News Desk
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