It was quaintly ironic how President Sarkozy’s decision to reach out to his thousands of expatriate French citizens by giving them proper representation in the French Senate, by way of their own Senators to represent their interests, boomeranged spectacularly when he attempted to impose a tax on second home owners.
As his ministers quite rightly pointed out to him, the hundreds of thousands of French citizens resident and working in countries like the UK, many of whom now owned what had become a “second home” in France, were more than likely due to this legislation to vote against him. And bingo, he performed an incredible U-turn and dropped the tax.
Does this give British citizens now resident in France and elsewhere who after 15 years have lost their right to vote in the UK pause for thought? I do hope so. It shows the power of democracy, and the ability of voting citizens to change legislation.
Many readers of other nationalities, as far as I know, still retain their right to vote in their home country, and have not had their votes taken away from them because they choose to live in France.
Most British expats living abroad are unofficial ambassadors, promoting British values to their host countries. International civil servants, English language teachers, foreign correspondents of British newspapers, businessmen and businesswomen: all project an image of their Britishness around them. Yet all face the voting ban after they have lived abroad for more than 15 years.
The decision of a Spanish-British couple to live in the UK (as in the case of Nick Clegg MP, the Deputy Prime Minister, and his Spanish wife) has no undesirable consequences in terms of expat voting rights, because the Spanish spouse has a lifelong right to vote in Spanish national elections. But a decision made by a similar couple to live somewhere like Spain would, under the present legislation, lead to the denial of voting rights to the British spouse after15 years.
Full Article: Why expats should be able to keep their votes – Telegraph.