By Tim Fanning

PALMA
DEMOCRATS in the Balearics played their part in choosing their party's candidate for the U.S. presidency next November on Super Tuesday yesterday.
Millions of U.S. citizens living abroad were eligible to vote in the first ever global primary, alongside their compatriots back home, in yesterday's crunch vote.

According to the U.S. consul, there are 800 American citizens resident in the Balearics.
Democrats Abroad will have 22 delegates going to Democratic National Convention in Denver in August to select the candidate who will go forward to November's presidential elections. Nicole Szulc Ginn, a resident of Pollensa, who has set up a branch of Democrats Abroad in the Balearics said that she was aware of at least 18 Democrats who were voting yesterday. “We needed 15 to get started,” she said. “That was our initial goal.” The former journalist was on her way to Barcelona to vote in one of the two drop in centres organised by Democrats Abroad for voters in Spain. The Barcelona drop-in centre was open from midday to midnight yesterday.

The other drop-in centre in Madrid was open from 8pm until 2am. Voters were given the added incentive to come and cast their ballot in person of a Mardi Gras party with live music, raffles, door prizes and the primary results from the participating states live via satellite television.

About 100'000 U.S. citizens are believed to live in Spain.
Among them is Palma resident Christina Buchet who voted online for Hillary Clinton. “I think she's the best for the job. She has more experience than Obama does. She's already been in the White House. I don't know if America's ready for something brand new, because they are getting over Iraq and the economy's really bad.” She added: “Americans don't like change.” For Christina, like many Democrats, the most important thing isn't so much which candidate will go forward to next November's presidential election, but getting the Republicans out of the White House.

Asked whether Clinton can fix America's economy, she said: “I don't know if she can fix it but I know she can try. Anything's better than Bush.” This is the first time that U.S. citizens have had a chance to vote in a primary abroad. Christina added that it was “amazing to be able to vote online”. Democrats in Spain will be able to exercise their vote in the global primary until February 12.

In Barcelona, there's a further opportunity to vote in the drop-in centre this Saturday between midday and 4pm. Each country will then collate their results before sending country committee members to a pan-European convention on March 15 in Brussels to choose delegates for the Democrats Abroad global convention in Vancouver on April 12-13. This global convention will then choose delegates to represent Democrats Abroad at the Democratic National Convention. The 22 representatives attending the National Convention in Denver will have 11 votes.

Republicans living in Spain won't a have chance to influence who will be their presidential candidate, however, as Republicans Abroad isn't recognised as a state committee and won't have representation at the Republican National Convention.