Foreign residents enter Spanish politics

The ‘Partido de los Extranjeros’ (PdEx) or the ‘Foreigners Party’ in English began work on participating in the local elections with the aim of representing the large presence of foreign residents in the province of Alicante. The party announced that it would be fielding lists of candidates (which must be headed by Spaniards) in a total of five municipalities – Alicante, Alfaz del Pi, Torrevieja, San Fulgencio and Benidorm. However the General Secretary of the party, Giulio Adinolfi, hopes that in the future his party will be able to field candidates in all municipalities that include a significant number of foreign residents. The party will begin its campaigning in Torrevieja and Alfaz del Pi which have 54,327 and 11,846 foreign residents respectively.

Members of the party’s team of campaigners include nationals from Italy, Rumania and Armenia all of whom have no prior experience in the world of politics. Viorel Sumanaru, the leader of the team, explained the idea behind the formation of the party saying that it aimed to represent the rights of immigrants and fight for the future of their children.

Over the next few months representatives of the party will meet with different collective groups of foreigners in the province as well as local associations and municipal institutions in order to analyze the ‘difficulties and needs’ of foreign residents ‘from all angles’. The party will focus on issues including ‘insecurity and violence’ suffered by immigrants and examine the roots of the problem. It will also talk to the police in order to look for effective solutions.

Obstacles suffered by foreigners in the areas of education or access to jobs that require regulated qualifications will also be addressed by the party which says that foreigners need to have a voice and a vote given that they form part of the province and experience the difficulties as much as the positive aspects of the place in which they live.

However, previous attempts to represent foreigners politically have received poor results in elections due to the low turn out of foreigners when it comes to voting partly because of the need to register for a vote which involves certain procedures.

Only EU citizens and citizens from Norway and some Latin American countries have the right to vote in Spain.