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Podemos wants foreigners to vote in referendums and regional elections

Emerging party presents its manifesto ahead of the December 20 elections

Errejón, durante la presentación de la campaña electoral
Podemos official Iñigo Errejón presenting his party's election manifesto on Monday.

Podemos wants immigrants to have a vote in regional elections and referendums to increase their “political participation,” according to the emerging party’s campaign program.

The left-wing anti-austerity party presented its election manifesto on Monday, with less than a month to go before Spain holds general elections that are widely expected to break the two-party hegemony held by the Popular Party (PP) and the Socialists (PSOE) since the 1980s.

The leftist party also wants to relax current checks on illegal immigration

“We will do a viability analysis to see if [this initiative] can be incorporated into our current constitutional framework,” said the party, which also wants to change Spanish laws to allow foreigners to create their own political parties.

Right now, residents in Spain who do not have Spanish nationality can only vote in local elections, and then only if they are citizens of a European Union member state or one of the 12 nations with which Spain has a reciprocity agreement. Half of those countries are in South America.

That leaves out more than four million people: according to the National Statistics Institute (INE), there are nearly 4.8 million immigrants registered locally, but only 463,665 of them had the right to vote at the May 24 local and regional elections.

The leftist party also wants to relax current checks on illegal immigration by ending deportation flights, shutting down holding centers and eliminating barbed-wire coils on the fences around Ceuta and Melilla, two Spanish exclave cities located on the northern coast of Africa.

English version by Susana Urra.