Spain goes to the polls again on Sunday (26 May) for the second time in under a month. With the general election out of the way, this time it is a triple vote in some areas of the country for new councillors, new regional parliaments and Euro MPs.
Some 67,000 council seats in all 8,131 town halls are up for reelection and twelve autonomous regions will choose a new government. In Malaga province, including the Costa del Sol, voters will be choosing councillors in the 103 local municipalities plus their Euro MPs. There is no regional vote here as this was held in Andalucía last year.
Politicians have been campaigning hard ahead of the important votes and before the day of reflection tomorrow, Saturday, when campaigning is banned. April's general election yielded an increase in MPs for the PSOE and a split in the right-wing vote, with the conservative Partido Popular (PP) losing ground, and commentators are keen to see if the same pattern could be repeated this coming Sunday.
Monday was the last day for opinion polls to be published and a survey for GAD 3 showed that in the Euro vote, of the 54 seats across Spain, which is a single constituency; 19-20 would go to the PSOE, up from 14 in 2014; 11-12 to PP, down from 16 now; 8-9 to Ciudadanos; Unidas Podemos, 6-7; Vox 3-4.
Although only Spanish passport holders can vote in Spain in national and regional elections, many people of other nationalities living in the country can vote in the municipal elections, providing they were registered on the electoral roll. There are municipal voting rights agreements for all EU countries, as well as for Bolivia, Cape Verde, Chile, Colombia, Korea, Ecuador, Iceland, Trinidad and Tobago, Norway, New Zealand, Paraguay and Peru.
Candidates to be mayor have been courting the vote of foreign residents as usual, especially in areas with a large proportion of expatriates. Official data shows that 40,000 foreign nationals on the Costa and in Malaga province have registered to vote on Sunday. International candidates from the qualifying countries can also stand in the municipal election.
Among the larger local town halls where the foreign-resident vote is likely to be decisive in choosing who the mayor and councillors will be are Mijas, where 36 per cent of the local population is not Spanish and the current Ciudadanos mayor rules with a minority of councillors; Marbella, with 26 per cent international residents and a PP mayor ruling in coalition; and Nerja with 29 per cent international residents, where the PSOE leads a left-wing coalition. In addition there are many other towns and villages in Malaga province with significant number of international voters.