The election procedure in Spain is as follows:

Choosing the Candidates

The political parties choose their candidates and publish the names in a list in order of importance (from most to least important) This means that citizens vote for parties and not for individual candidates.


This process begins approximately eight weeks before the actual elections.

Election Campaign

All canvassing for votes must cease two days before the actual election day, and no campaigning is permitted either on the last day (known as the ‘day of reflection’) or on election day itself, normally a Sunday.


Voting takes place at what are known as ‘colegios electorales’ in each local community. Members of the European Union residing in Spain (and Norwegians meeting specific criteria) are allowed to vote in Spain in local/municipal elections.

The main elections in Spain are:

Municipal Elections take place every four years and are for the election of the Mayor and local councillors. Foreign residents are entitled to vote as long as they are registered correctly on the local padrón (census). These elections are normally held in May and are preceded by a hive of activity by the incumbent party – building, cleaning, road mending etc.

Regional Elections are for the election of a president of the regional government and take place every four years.

National Elections generally take place every four years and at the same time as the Regional Elections. Foreign residents are not entitled to vote in these elections.

The main Political Parties in Spain

Partido Socialista Obrero Español (PSOE) – Socialist
Partido Popular (PP) – Conservative
Izquierda Unida (IU) – Left wing grouping
Partido Andalucista – Local Andalucian party

Foreigners wishing to vote in the local elections should register on the local padrón (at the Town Hall) and state that they wish to be included on the local census. Prior to the elections, lists of eligible voters are posted locally and there is a short period of time allowed for ‘rectification’ should you find your name is not included on the list.

All the political parties will send campaign material and forms to your home. On polling day, take identification and voting papers to the polling station, enter the booth and choose the list of the party you wish to vote for. Place your vote and put it into one of the envelopes provided and seal the envelope. Go to the desk, show your documentation and hand your envelope to the assistant, who will put it into the box for you.

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