Ways Brexit will affect us: Voting

How will Brexit affect British voting rights in Spain?

Voting rights (both voting and standing for election) are as follows in Spain:

  • Regional and national elections: Only Spanish nationals over the age of 18 who haven’t been disenfranchised.
  • Local elections: Spanish nationals, EU citizens resident in Spain, and citizens of a country with a reciprocal voting agreement who comply with the terms of the agreement.
  • EU elections: All Spanish nationals and EU citizens resident in Spain.

So when the UK leaves the EU, we will no longer be EU citizens and won’t be permitted to vote, or stand for election, in local elections or EU elections. We’ve never been permitted to stand, or vote, in regional or national elections.

Alas no more
Alas no more

Which, since the Brits proved (at least around here) unable to get their act together in the last local elections, won’t worry most local mayors. The occasional councillor won’t be able to stand (that’s Jessica Simpson and Jim from Zurgena up the creek) and it’s possible that the smaller villages may see their power structures change slightly. Probably for the worst, as it allows the tradition of Spanish family block voting to give even greater power to local caciques. I’ll leave the gloomy prognostics over how this will mean the collapse of British expat way of life to more depressed columnists.

And obviously we won’t be able to vote in EU elections.

So – no voting rights. Unless the UK signs a reciprocal voting agreement with Spain, allowing UK based Spaniards and Spanish based Brits to vote in local elections. Let’s look at these.

Currently, the following countries have signed such an agreement:

  • Norway, New Zealand, South Korea, Iceland, Trinidad & Tobago, Ecuador, Colombia, Chile, Peru, Paraguay, Bolivia and Cabo Verde.

Nationals of the above countries can vote in Spanish elections if they have been resident here for the appropriate length of time – normally five years, but three years in the case of Norway and no time limit for New Zealanders.

So, unless and until a reciprocal voting agreement is signed with Spain, British nationals resident in Spain will be disenfranchised upon the loss of the status of EU citizenship.

Information my own interpretation. Information on current voting rights taken from the ministry of the interior (MIR).

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