Podemos says it would extend municipal voting rights for EU citizens to Spain’s regional elections

Pablo Iglesias, leader of Podemos. Photo: Ahora Madrid/Wikimedia

• Left party wants legally resident foreigners to vote in regional balloting

• Move would affect citizens of EU, 12 other nations with bilateral accords

Spain’s insurgent left political party Podemos has said if elected by voters in upcoming Dec. 20th general elections, it would extend the current municipal voting rights of legal residents of Spain who are EU citizens, or hail from one of 12 other countries with which Spain has reciprocal voting agreements, to include voting in elections for regional parliaments in each of Spain’s 17 autonomous communities.

In a manifesto outlining its positions on immigration and rights for immigrants issued Monday, Podemos also said it would seek to eliminate holding centers and deportation flights for illegal immigrants. On the voting front, the party also reportedly said it would work to allow foreigners resident in Spain to establish political parties.

Podemos estimates there are some 4.8 million legally registered immigrants in Spain, but only about 500,000 were registered to vote in last May’s municipal elections.

In those elections, Podemos-supported activist mayors were elected in Spain’s two largest cities, Madrid and Barcelona, and coalition governments supported by Podemos won control of many municipal councils nationwide.

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