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Jan 16

Written by: International Marbella
Friday, January 16, 2015  RssIcon

The votes of European residents could make a big difference in municipalities in which the results of next May's local elections are expected to be very close. The results of the elections in May 2015 are difficult to predict, especially because they are expected to be closer than in 2011. The probable scenario will be the move away from the traditional two-party system making political groups and organisations especially keen to attract voters of all types and they are already beginning their campaigns.

As well as maintaining close links with traditional groups such as residents’ associations, or general targets such as young people, in this year’s local elections it will be very important for the parties to attract residents from European countries or from those that have a ‘reciprocal agreement’ with Spain such as Iceland & Norway.

To vote in the local elections next year, the final date to register was 30th December 2014 however it does not apply to EU citizens who have already registered their wish to vote in previous elections and who continue to be on the population register at their local Town Hall: they do not have to make another declaration because their previous registration is still valid.

Marbella is the municipality of Malaga province with the highest number of EU foreigners who have the right to vote: 4,474 at present. Obviously, this figure may have increased, as people had until December 30th to register their wish to vote in the local elections next May.

The battle to win the local elections in 2015 will be fought on many fronts, and in many places one of them will be that of foreign residents other fronts is improvement of the roads and the ongoing campaign to increase tourism in Marbella.

Marbella Mayor Angeles Muñoz explained how well the town had bounced back from past difficulties, during a recent breakfast meeting. It was obvious just how proud Muñoz is of the town’s progress. Her eyes shone as she explained that tourism expectations had been met and even surpassed in 2014 with a 94 per cent occupancy rate in October, higher even than August 2011.

In fact, the town has been recognised for 2014 Tripadvisor Travellers Choice awards as the seventh best holiday destination in Spain which has pushed that more hotels aim to stay open over the winter season and the town has been promoting tourism internationally and is currently reaching out to the Chinese market.

Yet tourism is certainly not the only thing that has improved in Marbella. Confidence is on the rise with new businesses appearing every week and recent statistics gave the town as the seventh best Spanish city for total amounts of property sales, higher than regional capital Malaga. Taking into account population, Marbella came second with 14.28 transactions per 1,000 inhabitants, beaten only by Torrevieja with 20 per 1,000.

The town hall team has been working to clear debts left by previous councils and is now able to claim an average of just 34 days’ delay for payment to suppliers.

The town hall of Marbella have also presented a plan to resurface 36 roads in the Marbella area. The plan which will cost €600,000 is hoped to be signed by January 2015. The resurfacing will cover almost 55,000 square meters and use more than five tons of tarmac.

While the mayor is pleased with the work done by the council, she is at all times quick to stress that there are always room for improvement and promise that they would continue to strive to make Marbella the best tourist destination in Spain and the best place to live and work for local residents.

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