Ballot boxes opening in Spain & the UK
May, such an important month for many, many reasons. Here in Spain, it’s the first official month of the summer 2015 tourist season, bank holidays in both countries, many birthdays of course and a whole array of sporting cup finals. However this year, May 2015 will be such an important month for a general election in the UK and local elections across Spain’s autonomous regions.
The United Kingdom voters go to the polls on Thursday 7th May to elect the government who will control in the Westminster parliament for the next five years. We have witnessed over the past few weeks huge media coverage, jostling for position, electioneering, blanket campaigning, a bit of mud-slinging & whether a fan of them or not, entertaining TV debates that always seem to conjure up more questions than answers. If you trust and believe in the polls, it is quite likely the UK public will yet again return a ‘hung’ parliament so another coalition government will have to be created. We are certainly not canvessing for public opinion but for many, it’s quite hard to get excited about politics. History tells us it’s always been a relatively simple choice for the voters. Either it’s the right or left of British politics but this time around there are new players on the board. With the rise in popularity of the controversial UKIP party seemingly attracting disillusioned voters across England and Nicola Sturgeon’s SNP party dominating in Scotland, this election may well throw up a few surprises. Will people’s votes be cast on the Economy, NHS, Tax, other crucial policies or politicians personalities? It remains to be seen but time will no doubt tell. Who will win? The well used political term ‘it’s too close to call’ is probably the best way to summarise the current playing field.
Over here in Spain, all of the countries autonomous regions go to the polls on the 24th May with a general election taking place later in the year in October. In Ibiza, similar to all the other regions, we shall be voting for our local town councillors and representatives for the regional Balearic government based in Palma. In fact, non Spanish residents can register with their local town councils enabling them to vote and have their voices heard both locally and generally in Spain. As a consequence, for the first time that we can recall, here in Ibiza there is a long standing British resident, Martin Makepeace, running for councillor of the town council of Sant Antoni. With such a huge ‘ex pat’ community of varied nationalities living within this borough of Ibiza, it makes complete sense to have a local councillor who may be more ‘in tune’ with issues that affect non Spanish local residents. A much needed voice and presence within the ‘corridors of power’. Let’s hope the ex pat community register to vote then visit the polling stations on the 24th May to make sure their votes count and help to make a difference in Ibiza. I heard someone say the other day, ‘if you don’t vote, then don’t moan’. Says it all.
For many, these elections are much more important than the general election as the real local issues that affect people on a day by day basis can be reviewed, discussed and debated. This is the best way to express satisfaction or discontent with current administrations. As with most issues in politics, opinions always divide. These what we call, ‘local’ elections, play a huge part of the political landscape in Spain with control of Autonomous & Municipal governments changing almost every election cycle. The Spanish people take their politics very seriously and are not afraid to express their opinions and vote out people and parties they have no trust or lack of confidence in. The political pendulum swings with great force in Spain.