Sofía Álvarez has been the Orihuela councillor for Tourism and International residents for 4 years. She is also a senior member of the Partido Popular and as recently as last Saturday she attended a meeting with Pablo Casado, the man who is likely to be Spain’s next Prime Minister.
Based on the Orihuela Costa, in the playa Flamenca Town Hall, Sofia has spent her entire term of office working tirelessly in support of the Orihuela Costa, ‘championing’ the rights of Foreign Residents, helping them to integrate themselves and their families into the local community, and with the municipality comprising of residents from over 100 different nations, the task has never been greater as she attempts to encourage them into embracing the new ways of life and culture of living here in Spain.
“Learning the language opens the door to Spanish society. It is also important that foreign nationals know their rights and their obligations, comply with local laws and understand the fundamental values of Spanish society,” she said.
And one such area on which she has spent a good deal of her time recently, informing, debating and attempting to convince her constituents of the importance, is that of registering on the Padron, the ‘certificado de empadronamiento’.
“It is not a form of ID, neither is it Spanish Residence. It is simply a census that enables the authorities to calculate how many public services (health, police, schools, administration, etc.) that each area needs. The more people registered, the more services an area receives, thereby enabling the town hall to assess the number of dwellers in the area and therefore bid for grants and funding to maintain and improve the infrastructure.”
Sofia also explains that it is obligatory for anyone staying in Spain for more than six months to obtain a Padron.
Currently she is very active in ensuring that all international residents are properly registered to vote in the upcoming Municipal elections.
“The more people that vote the stronger we will become as a municipality, one in which the Partido Popular will continue to fight for the rights of international residents, in particular for access to healthcare and education.”
We will also continue to promote social integration and the rights of British residents in Spain, as well, of course, as Spanish residents in the UK after March.”
She explains, however, that if people wish the voice of international residents in the area to be heard, it is essential that they are correctly registered to vote, that their padron is up to date and that they support her and her party, the Partido Popular, as she works daily to further improve the conditions for the Foreign community, facilities, business, activities and employment throughout the Orihuela Costa.