The new Ley Electoral governing the right to vote in municipal elections, and the procedures within, is now law, with just a few months before the May 2011 elections.
Important changes? The biggest one is that emigrants no longer have the right to vote in municipal elections – meaning, we hope, an end to the practise of ballot stuffing by certain political parties who have got their grubby little hands on the voting roll.
In all seriousness, this is a big change. For example, it means that the voting list of Olula de Castro has dropped by 48% – that’s the number of voters who lived abroad. Bédar’s drops by 33%, Taberno by 30%, Bacares 44%, etc. In all, 27.772 natural born Almerians who now live abroad have seen their names wiped from the municipal voting lists.
In Mojácar, it is alleged (I haven’t looked it up) that half of the votes that Rosmari’s PP party received in 2007 were from foreign voters. This time around, she won’t have those votes.
The law also introduces a number of changes designed to make voting easier, and more transparent. For example, any political party can now ask for an independent review of any census that suffers substantial changes in numbers six months before an election with no “apparent reason”; No person or company can donate more than 10,000€ to a single local political party; and this time around, it is now the voter who puts his or her vote in the box, rather than giving it to the official for him or her to put your vote in the box.
Another big change is on no-confidence votes. Before, to bring about a mocion de censure (which could bring down the local government and install the opposition in their place), you only needed a third of the councillors to second the motion. Now, an absolute majority of councillors must second the motion, a change designed to prevent scurrilous motions being proposed.
Also, the new law is a lot harder on people trying to buy or force votes, people bringing weapons into the voting booth, etc.