Everything about voting in the municipal elections in Spain

by Lorraine Williamson
spanish elections

MADRID – On May 28, residents of Spain will be able to vote again in the municipal elections to select members of the city council. The city council plays an important role in making decisions on local affairs. 

This includes local infrastructure, education, housing, economic development and municipal taxes. The results of municipal elections affect the composition of the municipal council. And as such, can have consequences for the policy and direction of the municipality. 

Dates and Requirements for Foreign Residents 

European Union citizens who are not Spanish but live in Spain cannot vote in national and regional parliamentary elections. However, they do have the right to vote in municipal elections and European elections. 

To vote, they must be registered on the electoral roll and be 18 years old. The period to request a vote for the 2023 elections, taking place on May 28, ended on January 30. 

Also read: Stream of promises in final weekend before start of election campaign 

In addition, citizens of some countries outside the EU, such as Colombia and the United Kingdom, whose registration deadline ended on January 15, can also vote in municipal elections. According to the National Institute of Statistics (INE), nearly one million foreigners in Spain meet the voting conditions. 

How to vote as a foreigner? 

Requirements 

If you are not registered for the upcoming elections, make sure you are registered for the next elections. You can register on the electoral roll online via the electronic counter of the INE. To do this, it is required to have a Cl@ve or electronic certificate, and Foreign Identification Number (NIE). Furthermore, you must be registered in the municipality where you live. 

How to request the vote 

Another way is to express your wish to vote at the town hall of the municipality where you live. A formal declaration (DFA model) will be completed there, which is also available at the INE Electronic Counter. Once you are on the electoral roll, you do not have to repeat this procedure in the next municipal elections, unless you ask to be excluded or are excluded because you no longer meet the requirements to vote. 

Term 

In the municipal elections on May 28, all European citizens living in Spain who are registered before January 30, 2023 and have expressed their willingness to vote can vote. 

Other countries that can participate 

There is also an electoral census of foreigners from outside the EU living in Spain who have agreements to vote in municipal elections. These are the citizens of the following countries;

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  • Bolivia
  • Cape Verde
  • Chile
  • Colombia
  • Korea
  • Ecuador
  • Iceland
  • Norway
  • New Zealand
  • Paraguay
  • Peru
  • United Kingdom
  • Trinidad and Tobago

They must therefore request registration on the electoral roll. Anyone who did so in the 2019 municipal elections and also wants to vote in 2023 must register again. 

Requirements 

The conditions to have the right to vote are: to be 18 years old on the day of the vote, to be registered in the municipal register of the city council, to have a residence permit in Spain and to have legally resided in Spain for the corresponding time. 

In this sense, nationals of Norway and the UK must have lived in Spain for three years on the day of the vote and for the other countries a total period of five years applies. 

How to request the vote 

To apply for online registration, you must access the procedure “Declaration of Intent to exercise the right to vote in Spain in municipal elections by the voters of the CERE (Election Register for Foreign Residents in Spain) at the Electronic Office of the National Institute of Statistics (INE), where you must prove your identity via the Cl@ve system. 

If you do not have the Cl@ve and you have received a message from the Central Elections Office with an Electronic Processing Code (CTT), you can complete the application with the NIE and this code. 

Those who choose to do it in person can go to their town hall to identify themselves with their identity card and attach a photocopy of it. 

Term 

The deadline for submitting applications has passed on 15 January for those who wished to vote in the May 2023 municipal elections. If you missed that deadline, you can at least have your affairs in order for the next European Parliament elections in May 2024 . 

Other Elections in Spain 

The next general or national elections will take place at the end of this year. Most likely November 10, but at the latest December 10, 2023. 

The regional elections of 12 of the 17 autonomous regions will also take place on May 28, at the same time as the municipal elections. It concerns all regions except the Basque Country (elections in July 2024), Galicia (July 2024), Catalonia (February 2025) and Andalucia (July 2026). 

Also read: Poll shows changes in Spanish political landscape 

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