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"Dealing with Alien Suffrage: Examples from the EU and Germany"

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  • Germany
  • Immigration Policy
  • Discrimination/Minorities
  • European Elections/Voting Behavior
  • Political Science


[From the Introduction]. The idea of good governance is becoming the latest buzz-word to cast its shadow over the operational nature of domestic and international politics. Within that shadow is the need to ensure the opportunity to participate. The fact that the 5.5 million EU citizens living in other EU Member States have been granted limited political rights is obviously a step forward but the fact that resident aliens and third-country nationals lack equivalent rights and, hence, remain excluded from both the national, local and supranational arena, represents a major challenge to the normative-based idea of good governance. The paper will address two distinct though, perhaps, interconnected issues? [this is a question that will hopefully be answered during the course of field-work immediately prior to the conference]: the issue of EU citizens and alien suffrage and the case of non-citizens and to alien suffrage. While the former looks at developments within the EU, the latter will concern itself with the case of the Turkish minority in Germany. We need to ascertain what is the factor(s) that initiates/ and or drives change?' It is the contention of this paper that one possible driving force, because of the difficulties of addressing such issues at the national political level, could be the European Union. That is not to say that reform at the European level in terms of EU Citizens voting rights, will lead to the vote being given to Third Country Nationals (at the local and European level) or indeed any non-nationals being given the right to vote at the national level, it is rather an assertion that change at the European level begins to change the nature of the political climate within which issues have to be dealt with at the national level. Of course establishing a new norm is going to generate both support and opposition.

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