By Humphrey Carter

THE electoral lists for the May 25 local elections closed at 2pm on Monday and 11.362 European Union and Norwegian residents have signed on the electoral lists with their town halls to vote. On May 25, a total of 694.270 people will be eligible to vote in the Balearics, 673.852 are Spanish residents, 11.362 are EU and Norwegian residents and the remaining 9.946 are Balearic citizens residents overseas, but unless the turn out is 100 per cent, a much smaller share of the electorate will actually vote. The total number of EU and Norwegian residents intending to vote may rise slightly, as those who posted their voting slips before the Match 31 deadline are valid, although not yet counted. On the face of this initial set of figures issued yesterday by the National Statistics Institute, the number of EU and Norwegian voters is double the figure at the last local elections in 1999, however while a similar number of foreign voters to this year were on the electoral lists, only around 5.800 actually bothered to vote. In total, across Spain, of the 34.535.700 people eligible to vote, 143.070 EU and Norwegian residents are entitled to vote on May 25 with the biggest single share of the foreign vote being in Alicante where 32.595 foreigners are on the electoral lists. In Malaga there are 17.110 foreign voters; in Barcelona there are a potential maximum of 14.747 foreign residents; 12.938 in Madrid; followed by the 11.000 plus in the Balearics. How important the foreign vote is to the local political parties in the Balearics remains to be seen and over the next few days the various parties will be unveiling their campaign programmes and manifestoes. However, campaigning officially gets under way at midnight, May 9 and the traditional two-week run in to the elections closes at midnight May 23, allowing for the “day of reflection” during which no political campaigning is allowed, especially in the media. The elections are being held under unusual circumstance considering the massive opposition to the Spanish government and the Partido Popular for being one of the three key countries leading the allied attack on Iraq and there is growing talk of a protest vote, which could cost the PP dearly at the local elections. The National Statistics Institute will be providing exact figures by nationality and municipality.


The electoral lists will be posted on public display at all Town Halls from April 7 to 14 for those wishing to make sure that they are on the lists.
Each town hall will be displaying two separate lists, both in alphabetical order and by area, one for foreign residents and the other for Spanish residents. If however, despite having completed and submitted the relevant forms prior to Monday's 2pm deadline, for any one who is omitted from the electoral lists, there is a window for a reclamation to be made to the census office. However, the deadline is Monday April 14, so should anyone have any doubts, check the electoral lists as soon as they are posted should any problems arise and need to be solved in the relatively short period of time. The census office did initially post 50.000 voting slips to foreign residents entitled to vote in the Balearics, however, around 25 per cent were sent back by the post office “return to sender” for various reasons, so only about 38.000 people received their voting slips, of which under a third, 11.362 have accepted their right to vote.
Of the Spanish residents living overseas who will be voting, the majority will be casting their votes from Brazil, Mexico, Uruguay, Cuba and Chile while a further 41.000 Spanish citizens will be casting their votes at Spanish embassies and consulates across the United States.


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