Should Expat’s be allowed to vote in the elections of their home nations?
For some expats the way of life they adopt in their host nation is so enjoyable that they decide to become a resident or citizen of the nation, and so take on many of the rights and privileges of a national citizen.
In many cases, residents who apply for citizenship are entitled to vote in the local and general elections of their foreign home, but this can sometimes mean giving up the right to vote in their country of origin.
The case can be even more frustrating for non-citizen expats, as they can lose the right to have a say in the government both in the country of their birth and the country they occupy.
Under current UK law, any national who has been living abroad for over 15 years can no longer vote in UK elections.
But one elderly UK expat has been taking a stand against this issue for over a decade. Although 93-year old Harry Shindler moved to Italy 30 years ago, he has spent the last 12 years fighting for his right to take part in UK ballets.
Shindler argues that the government voted into power in the UK has a direct influence on his life, effecting things like his pension and healthcare provisions.
However, in the latest round of his 12 year battle Shindler’s appeal was thrown out by the European Court of Human Rights.
Despite this setback, and his advancing age, Shindler is so fervent in his belief that UK expats should be able to participate in UK elections that he plans to stage another offensive.
In an interview with ‘The Local’ newspaper Shindler asserted; ‘I have requested that the European Commission take the case to the European Court of Justice. In the meantime I am preparing to take the case to the UN. There’s no question that we’ve loosened our ties to the country. The world’s got much smaller today; if that argument was true a hundred years ago it’s not true now. Things have changed.’
Shindler is basing his argument on the fact that in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights it states that everyone has the right to participate in the government of their country of origin.
What do you think?
Should expats be entitled to get involved in the politics of a country they no longer live in?
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