Councillor for Mijas Bill Anderson writes his weekly column: IT’S ALL ABOUT NUMBERS

Some would say that all politicians are the same regardless of where they are. It’s an opinion and it’s hard to argue with an opinion. We may disagree with it, but everyone is entitled to one.  However, what we can’t argue against is that voting systems are not all the same. I’ve been here in Spain for so long that I don’t know if things have changed in the UK, but most voting systems are first past the post to get a seat.

I know that the Scottish Parliamentary elections involve proportional representation, but in local councils, it didn’t matter if the person you wanted to represent had 3000 votes or 10,000 votes as long as he or she had the majority and won the race. Winning by a head or a furlong all ended up the same.

Local elections in Spain don’t work that way. Spain uses something called the D’Hondt system. What this means is that the number of representatives depends on the number of votes. In a municipality like Mijas with 90,000 inhabitants a party with 9000 votes may get 9 councillors out of 25.

The absolute majority is 13. So, unless a pact can be agreed they will not get into government. After 4 years in opposition, trust me, there is not an awful lot we can change from the opposition benches. On the other hand, 12,000 votes may produce 13 councillors which would put a party into government.

Bearing in mind that this article is aimed at the whole of Spain, you would need to translate this to your own Local Authority.  Obviously, if you don’t care about who runs your council because all politicians are the same, you’re probably not even registered to vote. So, I am aiming this at those who do care.

Let me make it clear, I’m not touting for votes here, but simply want to explain that having a vote and not using it makes a difference. In Mijas in 2019, only 3000 International residents out of 12,000 eligible voters actually registered to vote. And of these 3000 who registered, less than 1000 actually turned up at the polling stations on election day. That’s about 8%.

So, what am I saying here? I am going to be harsh and say that we the Internationals need to stop being apologetic about living in Spain and seeing ourselves as “guests” of the Spanish Government. Once we live here, we are fully paid-up members of the wider Spanish community and we have the right to make demands and to decide who spends our money and what they spend it on.

My call to all of the registered Internationals in Spain is to put 28th May in your diary and make sure you set aside an hour of the day to turn up at the municipal elections and make your voice heard. It is all about numbers, Please make your vote count.

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