Numerous nationalities are represented in Majorca; only some of them can vote.

30-09-2012Joan Torres

The National Statistics Institute has published official data for people registered with town halls and which form the basis for determining the electoral roll for municipal elections this May.

In the Balearics there are getting on for some 60,000 foreign residents who are eligible to vote in municipal elections. This eligibility applies to EU citizens and will also apply, regardless of what happens with Brexit, to UK citizens; the UK and Spanish governments have reached agreement on this, as was reported in the Bulletin yesterday. Outside the EU, there are bilateral agreements which give citizens from two other European countries - Iceland and Norway - the vote. Other nationalities include Bolivian, Chilean, Colombian, Peruvian and New Zealanders.

Data for all foreign residents are therefore not the same as the data for elections. The nationality with the highest representation in the Balearics is Moroccan (almost 25,000), but Moroccans do not have the vote. The next five nationalities all do have the vote: German on 18,895 registered residents, Italian with just over 18,000, British with 14,753, Romanian (12,475) and Colombian on 7,478. The figure being quoted of some 60,000 in all presumably takes into account age, as the number of residents from countries who are eligible is somewhat higher than 60,000.

The population figures, in general, have altered quite significantly in recent years. For example, the German and British populations have decreased notably since 2007 - by 14,313 and 7,302 respectively. The Moroccan population has meanwhile increased by over 4,000, while the Italians have been the fastest-growing EU community - up by 3,900.

At municipal level the largest foreign populations are in Palma - over 60,000 - and in Calvia (15,076); Calvia's equates to around 30% of the total population. Among other municipalities, there are - for example - 4,737 foreign residents in Alcudia, 5,810 in Llucmajor, 3,232 in Pollensa and 3,402 in Santanyi. In mostly all municipalities there has been recent growth in the foreign population. Where this has decreased, for instance by thirteen in Deya, the reduction has been minimal. The municipalities with the largest recent growth are Palma (plus 1,698), Manacor (887) and Santanyi (718).

Foreign residents are therefore in a position to influence municipal elections. Whether they take the opportunity to vote is, however, another matter.