THE three main political parties welcomed the announcement yesterday that the voting process had been made more simple for expatriates from the European Union living in the Balearics. Under present government legislation as long as the EU expat is registered with the council where they reside they can ask to go on the electoral roll and vote. This means effectively that thousands of part-time residents will be able to vote even though they may only visit the island a few times a year. Also, you don't even have to own a house, a rental agreement is enough. The new voting process and the demise of residencias means that EU expats have never had it so good when it comes to paperwork. At the moment about 15'000 non Spanish European Union residents have stated their desire to vote in the May local elections out of the more than 50'000 which are eligible. Yesterday the right wing Partido Popular, the Spanish Socialist Party (PSOE) and the Majorcan Nationalist Socialist Party said that it was great news that EU expatriates would be about to vote but the PSOE had some reservations. Joan Huguet, of the Partido Popular said this is all part of the European Union process of integration. Naturally, all people connected with the island and providing that they come from a European Union country should be able to exercise their democrat right. His words where echoed by his PSOE counterpart, Francina Amengol, who said it was good news but added that the voting procedure should be as transparent as possible in a clear reference to the Partido Popular who have been accused of vote rigging involving South Americans on the island of Formentera. The issue is still being investigated. She also went on to say that she did not think that it was right that people who only spend a few weeks of the year on the island should be able to vote. Pere Sampol, the President of the Majorcan Nationialist Socialist Party, said that it was all part of the European process. He said that he doubted that people who visit the island infrequently would vote. Our relations with the rest of Europe have been pushed back by the antics of our Prime Minister and his pro-Bush stance. Spain must be at the heart of Europe and allowing EU expatriates to vote is part of this process, he said. In areas such as Calvia the EU expat vote accounts for more than 20 percent of the total electoral roll. It could make a major difference. Others areas where the expat vote could be vital are Fornalutx, Llucmajor, and Andratx. Many of the parties are fielding a number of non-Spanish candidates.