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Foreigners are not allowed to choose in Portugal

Today is the day of the elections for the “Assembleia da República” – the Portuguese parliament.

As a foreigner you are not allowed to participate

As a foreigner/resident you can vote in municipal elections, which is much more comprehensive than just the municipal council. That layer of government is much thicker here, because it is only one in three. (For comparison: in the Netherlands that is one in five.)
You not only elect the aldermen and the council, you also vote for the mayor – presidente da Câmara, and for the Junta de Freguesia.

Now the choice stress was insignificant – shall we put it positively?

Furthermore, there is nothing for foreigners to choose, not for parliament, not for the president. Foreigners are not allowed to do that, no matter how long they live in Portugal. Bad luck, your bad, you should have been born in Portugal.

Even my youngest son, who has lived here since he was 5, and has no idea how things are going in his native motherland, is allowed to vote there, but not here. I’ve lived here for a third of my life by now, but I have no say in how the country is organised.

All Portuguese, who, on the other hand, have lived in Luxembourg all their lives, are not allowed to vote there, but yes here. While that is probably the same as for Broes – you know something about your motherland, but you’ve never had any education in that language, in geography, in history, and you hardly know what’s current and what’s going on.

I think that’s a shame. And also a bit strange. I mean, it’s not an earth-shattering drama, but I really appreciate a democratic form of government (also because of the lack of working alternatives), and I like to make my voice heard.

Moreover, it is becoming more and more relevant, with all those relocating foreigners all over Europe

So I sincerely hope that this will be reconsidered, but I don’t know who would and could stand up for us – poor foreigners.

I presented it by app to a Portuguese friend, who has lived and worked in the Netherlands for many years. “You must have different intentions than the Portuguese,” she joked back, which I read as “other interests”.

Yes, that’s possible. I honestly don’t know. I just read that the previous elections were approached very lukewarm, only 49% bothered to go to the polls last time. And that, while elections are always held on a Sunday. A day that is still considered sacred, in the sense that it is a day of rest and you should not disturb anyone with work-related talking or calling. And, not an insignificant detail, that the Carnation Revolution only took place 48 years ago.

Well, pronto, if you want to know more about (the technology of) the Portuguese elections, google and wikipedia know a lot more about it than I do.

My point is more that we foreigners are allowed to pay taxes, but should not choose the representatives of the people who determine how much, when and what for. That’s a somewhat right-wing approach to the subject, I realize, but it adds even more weight to my plea for the right to vote for foreigners, which is:

Imagine the case, for example, that the Portuguese are now going to vote en masse for André Ventura from Chega (= Enough!), then the country has to make a huge turn from left to right to start with, but then we foreigners really don’t have an inch more chance of voting for parliament. Foreigners – and then of course those who come from poor and/or Islamic countries, from a terrorist-technically dangerous country, or from no country at all, such as the Ciganos (= gypsies) – are not portuguese, and therefore not a factor to take into account. According to Chega.

No matter how long you live in a country: as a foreigner you’re exclusive, ah sorry, I mean excluded

And yes, I like being able to help choose the president of the Câmara, but if I have three choices: left, right or local, I don’t think it’s going to make such a huge difference. (In our case: it didn’t. The SP-president is actually on his last term, so very busy with his next career choice.)

Have you ever thought about this, fellow expats? Don’t you find this strange too? Let’s hear from you!

We moved here in 2000 from Rotterdam, Holland to the Termas-da-Azenha, Portugal.

A big step, especially with two small children.

We are busy to rebuild one of portugals cultural heirlooms: Termas-da-Azenha, an old spa which has been turned into several holiday houses, rooms and a campsite.

You’ll find mosaics and paintings everywhere.

Since 2018 we call ourselves the first B&B&B in the world – Bed & Breakfast & Bathrobes. You can buy a home-made unique bathrobe/housecoat with us.

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