In a move which has angered some sectors of the non-Spanish EU residents in Spain, the Spanish government has apparantly decided that registered foreign residents from EU member states will not be allowed to vote in the referendum to be held on the new European Union Constitution next month.
Unlike in elections to the European parliament where member states are required to extend the right to vote to registered residents from other EU countries, in this referendum each EU government can to determine who is allowed to participate and who not. And the Spanish government, for some reason known only to itself, has decided that only Spaniards will have the right to vote in a referendum which is expected to attract very little debate and a very poor turnout.
Most non-Spanish EU residents who are used to registering and voting in local and European elections in Spain expected to vote in the referendum and according to an article in Expatica it only became apparant that were not going to have the right to vote this time when some expats went to their local town hall to ask why they still hadn’t received their voting papers.
According to the Spanish Interior Ministry, non-Spanish EU nationals can vote in their home countries, but in theory this might not be the case since each individual country will decide whether or not provision will be made for nationals living abroad to participate in the referendum.
This means that paradoxically one of the few groups of people most likely to be quite interested in expressing their opinion on the new European Union constitution, because of how it will directly affect their rights as nationals of one EU state and residents in another, may actually not be able to vote at all.