By Jason Moore

SINCE the Balearic elections I have done my own poll and I've asked many non-Spanish residents whether they voted in the elections or not. Many said that they did not. Their reasons for not doing so were varied although I got the impression that many felt they had been snubbed. As we know there is still discrimination in the voting system in Spain with non-Spaniards only being allowed to vote in municipal and European elections. We are still barred from the big two; general elections and the regional elections to decide who is going to preside over the local governments. In other words our voting power is minimal. We can help elect Mayors and Councillors but on the big issues we have been sidelined. Why? The power in the Balearics is with the Balearic government who can introduce legislation which can change our lives. Mayors are in many ways answerable to the leader of the government. It would be nice in the next local elections in 2007 if the discrimination ended so that we could vote twice, like Spaniards, for the Balearic presidency and for Mayor. I am sure that if this had been the case then the turn-out among non-Spaniards on May 25 would have been higher. I thought that the European Union was meant to end discrimination and give people from all member states a say in how the area where they live is administered. I also think that more foreigners should be encouraged to get involved in local politics. There is plenty of time to lobby for full membership of the Spanish voting club and this is what I think we should do. At the moment our voice can only be heard at council level and not where it really matters.