By Jason Moore
BETWEEN 1'600 and 2'000 non-Spanish European Union residents voted in Calvia out of a total census of 3'423.
I believe the figure of 1'600 to be accurate and many political commentators agree. As non-Spanish European Union residents cannot vote in the parliamentary elections but Spaniards can, we took the total number who voted in the municipal elections and substracted those who voted in the parliamentary polls. This gave us the figure of 1'600 approximately. There are cases when local residents vote for one party in the municipal elections and another in the parliamentary poll but this is usually very isolated.

The figure of 2'000 voters comes from Kate Mentink, the British-born councillor who also said that hundreds of non Spaniards also got involved in their campaign, including many British residents.

Our figure of 1'600 also includes all parties in Calvia, the Partido Popular, the Spanish Socialist Party, the Majorcan Unionists and others. Depending on what figures you take the turnout among the foreign community was low (just over 50 percent or 46 percent depending on what figures you choose to believe). The turnout overall in Calvia was more than 60 percent.

While the non-Spanish vote was key in Calvia I think Carlos Delgado's historic victory had more to do with Socialist voters backing the Partido Popular and effectively jumping ship than actual foreign voters coming out in force. The Partido Popular polled in Calvia 8'666 out of a total electorate of 17'000.

Four years ago when the Partido Popular first came to power they polled an estimated 1'300 foreign votes. At the time it was said that this figure would have been far higher if the socialist-led council had not allegedly tried to stop the foreign community from voting. I also sincerely doubt that any foreign residents voted for any of the other parties at the last local election four years ago! I was told yesterday by the PSOE and the Majorcan Unionists that a some foreign residents had voted for them. I think you can safely say that 80 percent of non-Spaniards voted for the Partido Popular despite the efforts of the other parties.

I have taken Calvia as an example because it is where the three main parties were actually courting the foreign vote. The turnout of non-Spanish voters in other areas was far lower, dropping to 30 percent in some cases.

So despite all the efforts of the parties in Calvia why is it that foreign residents are not more keen on voting?
I was stopped by one British resident in the street yesterday who said that he didn't vote because he had no interest in doing so. “It is their island and it is their election.” My main concern during this election was that the turnout amongst non-Spaniards would be low. Through the columns of this newspaper we urged everyone who could vote to do so. It was a golden opportunity to make our voice heard. While the turnout was marginally higher it was still nothing to write home about. Why?

During the election campaign one political activist said to me it was an English style campaign in Calvia. It was obviously not a clean campaign and complaints have already been logded with the electoral commission including one directed at a non-Spanish radio station. So what can be learnt? Perhaps in four years time we should have a Majorcan style election campaign. As we all know, what is the point of having an English style election campaign when very few people actually vote in them in England! I am just rather glad that the election campaign is over. It has certainly been a mixed bag of results and to those who voted I will offer my congratulations and to those who didn't, I will say why?


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