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Amsterdam council against using cash to encourage expats to vote

Amsterdam City Council is to express its opposition to plans by the Borough Council of Zuid to use €60,000 (£49,000) of public money encouraging expatriates to vote in local elections.

Mayor Eberhard van der Laan intends to raise the issue with the chairman of the borough council when they meet together, reports The Parool.

A total of 60,000 foreign citizens, made up of those from the EU and anyone who has lived in Amsterdam for five years or more, are entitled to vote on March 19th.

It has emerged that delegates from Zuid wish to get as many of this demographic to exercise their rights as possible and using the cash is seen as the easiest way to achieve this.

Local Labour leader Marjolein Moorman raised concerns about the use of the money after plans by the city authority to spend €400,000 on encouraging ethnic minorities to vote were vetoed.

It seems that the politics is overshadowing the issue, if more minorities vote it is likely to be advantageous for Labour and GroenLinks.

Meanwhile, Ms Moorman believes that expats are more inclined to vote for the VVD and D66 parties. The latter is making a challenge against Labour to become the biggest party in Amsterdam.

Voting is a big issue with expats across Europe in terms of local and national elections. A campaign has been mounted to allow Brits who have lived abroad for more than 15 years to continue to vote in UK elections.

Scots who are not currently living in Scotland are also feeling disgruntled about being left out of the forthcoming referendum on independence.

This is all set against the backdrop of voter apathy, with only a small percentage of the 5.5 million British expats thought to have registered for the European Parliamentary elections.

The Electoral Commission has launched a radio and social media campaign to tackle the situation.

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