Will you be able to vote in the UK general election in 2015?
The answer is “no” if you are a child, an individual suffering from mental illness (such that you are confined within a mental institution), an imprisoned criminal or an expat having lived abroad for more than 15 years.
But is this really fair? An increasing number of expats think not.
If you are British citizen and have been registered to vote in the UK in the last 15 years, you are still entitled to vote in the UK general election and European elections even if you live abroad. You need only to complete a simple registration process. However, if you have not been a registered voter in the UK within this time frame your right to vote is defunct.
Unlike the United States, Switzerland and most other developed countries in the world, among which most of the member states of the EU, including France, Germany, Italy, Portugal and Spain are included, the UK does not allow citizens having resided overseas for more than 15 years to participate in parliamentary elections.
This issue is of particular note as we approach the next general election in 2015. Prime Minister David Cameron has pledged to hold a referendum on the question of whether the UK should leave the European Union if a Conservative government is elected.
“It seems profoundly wrong to me that British citizens living in EU member states, whose lives and livelihoods would be directly and dramatically affected by a withdrawal from the EU, should not be allowed a vote in the general election next year,” says Graham Richards of the Votes for Expat Brits Campaign. “It could also mean that, in the event of a referendum, these British citizens would not be able to express themselves on one of the most important issues in their lives.”
What do you think?
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