By Jason Moore
THE Spanish general elections are on the horizon with tax, the state of the economy and more public spending high on the political agenda. Eventhough we, the non-Spanish European residents, will probably be more affected by what happens in the national polls, we are denied the vote. Under present Spanish legislation we can vote for our Mayor, our European Union MP, but not for Prime Minister. Why? I think it is just a simple case of discrimination. We are being denied the right to vote for the person that really matters. I know many non-Spanish European Union residents were opposed to the Iraq war and if they were able to vote I am sure that they would have lodged their protest. I must say that our rights in Spain over recent years have grown dramatically. We can now vote in local polls, residencias are no longer required and we can also receive travel discounts. But the icing on the cake would be the vote in the general election. The Spanish constitution would have to be changed again but I think it would be worth it and make European expatriates feel more at home. I was pleased to see that there was a certain buzz within the expatriate community during the last local elections. While the actual turn-out was relatively small, I think only about 20 to 25 percent of expats actually voted, I think everyone knew they could vote and were more interested in local politics. I hope that in four years' time in the next general elections we will be able to exercise our democratic right. Speaking personally I am more interested in what the Spanish Prime Minister does than Tony Blair and I think this is something which should be reflected. So come on Spain, let us have the same rights as Spaniards.

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