HILLARY Clinton or Barack Obama? The Democrat battle for the presidential ticket has come to the Balearics with Democrats being called on to join Democrats Abroad Balears which holds its inaugural meeting in Palma on Monday evening.
Democrats Abroad, as the Bulletin reported earlier this month, is hosting its own primary next month and the Balearics is going to become the latest branch of Democrats Abroad Spain, the fifth largest group worldwide.
The local organisation is being set up by Pollensa resident and paid-up Democratic Party member, Nicole Szulc Ginn.
The former journalist and diplomat, who represented President Clinton's State Department in Bosnia and helped set up the county's first elections after the war, has lived on the island for the past four years and has now decided to set up Democrats Abroad Balears. The idea is to gather fellow Democrats living in the Balearics together and ensure that they vote in the international primary if they have not already done so by an absentee ballot in their home state.
The Democratic Party has officially set up a 51st state for Democrats Abroad and voting in the global primary will take place next month.
At Monday's meeting, Ginn need to get at least 15 people together to start a Balearic branch of Democrats Abroad.
But she says that, according to the United States Consular Agency, there are an estimated 2'000 United States citizens living in the Balearics and she is confident that local Democrats will support the branch and get involved in the forthcoming elections which she says are going to be extremely important. What happens in November will not only prove crucial for the United States but also the rest of the world. We, as Americans have a huge responsibility at these elections. The whole world is watching the primaries closer than ever and, having lived and worked abroad for so long, I know that when America coughs, the whole world catches a cold - just look at the credit crunch we are suffering, for example, Ginn said yesterday. I feel passionate about the elections and want to contribute however I can to ensure positive change in our country by getting a Democrat into the White House this November, she added. The American community in the Balearics is very dispersed and does not have the kind of infrastructure that the British and German communities enjoy, but I hope to bring as many together to take part in changing the future of the United States and repairing the widespread damage which has been done by the Bush administration, Ginn, who is married to a former British officer attached to NATO whoM she met while working in Bosnia, said: I also want to explain to fellow Americans that it doesn't matter how long they lived away from home, they can vote. I've met so many people who say they have been away too long to vote. Providing that they have been registered to vote at least once, they can register to vote again, it does not matter how much time has elapsed, she said. It's important we vote and first time voters living here can register with the help of the United States Consular Agency in Palma, she added. If you don't vote, you can't bitch and we as Democrats have a duty to install a Democrat in the White House and start righting the wrongs Bush has done. It took the country 25 years to regain international respect after the Vietnam War but all that has been thrown away over the past few years. We face a huge challenge as a nation and it starts now, Ginn told the Bulletin yesterday.
Monday's meeting is at 7pm at number 22, Calle Antoni Marques above a store called Oliver.
She says that for those who can not make the meeting but want to get involved should visit the Democrats Abroad website and get involved online and register to vote in the Global Primary which runs from February 5 to 14.