EU: Local Polls Open To Residents Of Other Nationalities
Sumaira FH 1 year ago Sun 26th May 2019 | 07:50 AM
Paris, (UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News - 26th May, 2019 ) :Besides European parliamentary polls this weekend, EU citizens are also able to vote and stand in municipal elections in member countries where they live, even if they are not nationals.
This right was enshrined at the creation in 1993 of the European Union, which now includes 28 countries, even if it not widely known or always appreciated.
- Mobile citizens increasing - The EU right of free movement between member countries means that increasing numbers of people are choosing to live and work in nations where they are not nationals.
It is an electorate that grew by 11 percent between 2014 and 2016, today representing around 3.25 percent of the bloc's voting population, it says.
In some countries the mobile citizens make up a significant proportion of the total population, such as Luxembourg (39 percent), Cyprus (14 percent), Ireland (nine percent) and Belgium (eight percent).
All EU citizens have "the right to vote and stand as candidate in municipal and European Parliament elections regardless of whether they are a national of the EU country in which they reside," the Commission says.
However only around 54 percent of EU citizens are aware of this provision, Eurobarometer pollsters found in 2016.
- Voting - Procedures for non-nationals to register for municipal polls in their country of residence vary, it sometimes being automatic.
Some may be put off by the bureaucratic process involved.
- Standing - Around half of EU member states allow non-nationals to stand for all local administration roles, the EU Commission says.
In around 10 other countries, however, certain executive functions, such as mayor or deputy mayor, are restricted to nationals.
Spain reported the highest number of non-national candidates standing in municipal elections: 1,913 in polls before 2018.
Nearly 700 Britons currently sit in municipal councils in France, according to the French registry.
On average around 15.5 percent of non-nationals who run for municipal office in their country of residence get elected.
Public opinion about this right differs across the bloc.