Why the "most Bulgarian" Village in Spain Elects the Far Right

Novinite Insider » OPINIONS | May 18, 2019, Saturday // 12:50
Bulgaria: Why the "most Bulgarian" Village in Spain Elects the Far Right Torre del Burgo, Guadalajara by Pedro García Yepes

In the "most immigrant municipality" in Spain, the Bulgarian community, which does not intend to vote in the European elections, can bring victory to the far-right "Vox". The party once won victory in the parliamentary elections there, but not because of the apathy of the Bulgarians who did not have the right to vote at the time, but because of their presence.

These conclusions can be summed up by a reportage from the village of Torre del Burgo, in the heart of Spain, published by the El Mundo newspaper.

"In the Torre del Burgo (Guadalajara), the municipality with the highest percentage of immigrants in Spain, (leader of "Vox" Santiago), Abascal also won," Olga Sanmarin wrote, referring to the victory of the party in another municipality with many migrants, but in the southeastern part of the country. "Eighty-eight percent of those living there are foreigners, most of them Bulgarians."

Out of a total of 502 people in the region, the Bulgarians are 404, the Spaniards - 60. According to Mayor Jose Carlos Moreno, the conservative People's Party and in power for 8 years, many of them do not know Spanish and are there only temporarily. Among the Bulgarians, the permanent residents of Torre del Burgo - where there is only one bar, but not schools, banks or offices - are only 50 people. Others harvest asparagus seasonally, and then go to other provinces where fruit is grown.

"Little Bulgaria of Guadalajara"

"Since they started coming in 2003, nobody has requested Spanish citizenship and do not own houses," said Carlos Moreno. Although many of them do not stay in the village, two years earlier, another newspaper, A Be S, called Torre del Burgo "the small Bulgaria in Guadalajara". Then the Bulgarians are 137 out of 228 inhabitants - the municipality "with the largest share of Bulgarian citizens". There the mayor explains otherwise: the first Bulgarians came in the late 90s and the rumors of the proposed work spread - the newcomers took with them "cousins, brothers and nephews". Seasonal work in Torre del Burgo at the same time requires a workforce - in 2016, nearly 600 workers have collected about 2 million kg of asparagus.

Most of the Bulgarians, as they are registered as residents, have the right to vote at both the local and the European elections on May 26th. However, no one "would say that in a few days a mayor is elected" - there are no posters, rallies or slogans. Bulgarians say they will not exercise their voice. "Because I do not care who will win, almost nobody votes because we are not used to it and they do not inform us," said the agricultural worker Nikolay Georgiev. "In Bulgaria I vote for the Democrats."

Rosa Radeva, who has lived there for 13 years and cleans houses, however, voted. She says that if someone does not vote, it's just because "they are coming and going."

The special situation in the village means that the two largest parties - the People's Party of Moreno and the Socialists of Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez - are in a state of "election apathy" and do not campaign among Bulgarians, wrote El Mundo. "In practice, what is happening is that the political fate of the municipality is solved by the Spanish minority."

Local elections in 2015 were won by the People's Party after 53 people voted. On the parliamentary level this year, however, a total of 44 ballots went to "Vox" who won one third of the votes. The radical right, which wants restrictions on migration, is most preferred in a village where foreigners are seven times more than the Spaniards, the newspaper continues.

"To tell the Bulgarians that they need to learn a some order"

The party does not take part in the local elections next Sunday. However, if the low participation of the Bulgarians is maintained, the result of a local vote would again be in favor of "Vox". The mayor explains that while the Spaniards appreciate the Bulgarians, there were "cohabitation problems", especially with the "second generation" youth. "There are conflicts with the sons of those who became successful, they do not study and drive expensive cars at great speed."

The El Mundo report mentions a man represented as Vassilio Dimitrov, responsible for the day-to-day operations of an agricultural company. He is late with the administrative procedures and that is why he is not a candidate for a counselor from the People's Party. He says he does not want to be a mayor, nor did he think about creating a political party - "I work a lot and I do not have time." I wanted to go out to unite the Bulgarians and tell them that they had to get a in order and stop leaving empty bottles on the streets, smoke marijuana and they drive fast, the Spaniards behave well with us and we have to do the same. "

A similar story is told by the author from El Ehido in the province of Almeria in southern Spain. There, Vox won in an environment where most migrants are Moroccans, and police sources say "Vox would not have won if there were no migrants." El Ehido is a well-known place in Spain - in the municipality, 84,000 people had racist incidents 20 years ago. According to the same sources, "there is tension and fear again, as the number of arrivals has risen, the crimes have increased and the neighbors are getting tired of it."

Among the cited interlocutors is a 29-year-old Romanian who protects the Vox and the attitude towards it: "They are not against migrants, but against bad migrations, who do bad things to return to their country, it is not about racism. He is next to 48-year-old Murad el Fadil, who is a Spanish citizen, but believes there would be "more integration and respect if all immigrants could vote."

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