The Senate approved yesterday the amendment of the Organic Law of the General Electoral Regime (LOREG) to facilitate the vote of Spaniards living abroad and ratified the accession of Sweden and Finland to NATO.
With the reform of the LOREG, previously approved by the Congress last June 9 with a very large majority, it puts an end to the rogatory vote, in force since 2011. The initiative stems from a bill presented, in February 2021, by the Socialist Group and the Confederal Parliamentary Group of Unidas Podemos-En Comú Podem-Galicia en Común. With this reform, according to the Government, it will no longer be necessary for Spaniards living abroad to expressly state their will to vote. It will be the Administration itself, ex officio, who will send the electoral documentation to all the people registered in the census of foreigners, who will also be able to download and print their ballots.
On the other hand, the Lower House yesterday authorized the signing of the Protocols to the North Atlantic Treaty on the accession of Sweden and Finland to NATO, almost a week after both texts were approved by the Congress with the favorable votes of PSOE, Partido Popular, Vox, Ciudadanos, PNV, PDeCat and JxCAT and the abstention of the other partner of the Government, Unidas Podemos, as well as the Minister of Consumption and federal coordinator of IU, Alberto Garzón.
None of the parties that voted ‘no’ in Congress is represented in the Upper House, as well as Unidas Podemos. Therefore, the text went ahead with a very large majority of votes in favor. In the Senate, the representatives of ERC, Bildu and some parties of Izquierda Conferedral (Más Madrid, Compromís and Més) abstained. The Swedish Foreign Minister, Anna Linde, has thanked “Spain for the ratification”, as has the Finnish Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The U.S. Embassy has welcomed this “important step for the Alliance”.
The entry of the two countries into NATO was agreed at the end of June, during the Alliance Summit in Madrid. The permanent representatives of the 30 allies (including Spain) signed the accession protocols for the two countries on July 5 in Brussels, after which they must be ratified by the parliaments of all NATO member states. So far, 24 of the 30 allied countries have already done so, following ratification by the US Congress on August 9 and by the two chambers of the Spanish Parliament.