With municipal, regional, and a general election set to take place, you might say that 2023 is set to be a huge political year for Spain, with politicians already clamoring for votes.
Spanish news was dominated by the cost of living crisis in 2022, however, January 1 opened the door to a new year and a series of elections that will shape the future of different communities with policy being decided at a local, regional and national level.
Below we list the most important dates to keep in mind and answer some of the most important questions on the Spanish elections for 2023.
When will the municipal elections take place and can foreigners vote?
Municipal elections will take place in Spain on May 28, 2023.
Spain’s municipal elections are much like the local elections you have in the UK and other countries with councilors and mayors looking to be elected in the many towns and cities up and down the country.
Spain currently has a number of reciprocal agreements with other countries which allows their citizens living in Spain to vote in municipal elections.
These include citizens of Bolivia, Cape Verde, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Iceland, New Zealand, Norway, Paraguay, Peru, Korea, Trinidad and Tobago and the United Kingdom.
To vote in local municipal elections, voters must have been resident in Spain for at least 3 years, hold a residence permit, and be registered on the municipal padrón (electoral roll).
For UK and Norwegian citizens residence of 3 years is required, for other nationalities, the minimum is 5 years.
Voters must also confirm their registration on the padrón within the dates set out by the electoral authorities prior to each election.
Individuals must re-register on the padrón before each municipal election in order to vote. So if you voted in the 2019 elections, you must re-register to vote again in 2023.
The deadline for submission of applications is from December 1, 2022 to January 15, 2023.
Those who are entitled to vote should have been informed in writing by the Electoral Census Office (Oficina del Censo Electoral) by the end of November 2022. The letter will contain instructions on how to register to vote and will include a CTT code.
This code can then be used to register at https://sede.ine.gob.es
Once at that page, go to the ‘Procedures’ tab at the top, then ‘Electoral Roll Procedures’, then choose one of the next options based on whether you are an EU citizen or if your country has a reciprocal agreement with Spain.
Note that due to a special agreement between the UK and Spain, British nationals are not only entitled to vote in municipal elections but may also stand as candidates.
When are Spain’s regional elections, which regions will be voting, and who is eligible to vote?
Regional elections will be held on the same day as the municipal elections, May 28, 2023.
However, unlike municipal elections, regional elections will only be held in certain regions in 2023.
This year 13 of Spain’s autonomous communities will hold elections. This includes Aragon, Asturias, the Balearic Islands, the Canary Islands, Cantabria, Castilla-La Mancha, Castilla y León, Extremadura, Madrid, Murcia, Navarra and La Rioja. The autonomous cities of Ceuta and Melilla will also host their regional elections.
Galicia and the Basque Country held their elections in July 2020, and will therefore go to the polls again in 2024.
Catalonia voted in 2021 so will vote again in February 2025.
The regions of Castilla y León and Andalusia had their elections in 2022 so will vote again in 2026.
So who can vote in Spain’s regional elections?
Unfortunately, only Spanish nationals are able to vote in regional elections.
When is Spain’s general election for 2023, who can vote, and who is likely to win?
The last elections were held on November 10, 2019 with the PSOE grabbing 28% of the votes. This meant that they were unable to govern without the backing of Unidas Podemos, forming the country’s first-ever coalition government.
This year, the general election will most likely take place on December 10.
It is possible that the elections could be called earlier, however, with the current Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez behind in the polls, this is unlikely.
The official electoral campaigning will take place between November 24 and December 9. Voting will then take place on Sunday the 10th.
Unfortunately, if you are a foreigner in Spain, you will not be able to vote in the general elections as only Spanish citizens are eligible to do so.
So who will win?
The current polls suggest that it will be a tight run affair with the two main parties being Prime Minister Sánchez’s (PSOE) and Alberto Núñez Feijóo’s Popular Party (PP).
Many believe that the centre-right PP who are currently ahead in the polls, could return to power, however, they may need the backing of the far-right VOX party which is currently the third biggest party in Spain.
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