BOOK: "The political representation of immigrant-origin citizens in local elections: an empirical analysis" (2014), by Santiago Pérez-Nievas, Daniela Vintila, Laura Morales and Marta Paradés

Madrid: Spanish Centre for Sociological Research (CIS)

Abstract: During the last two decades, Spain experienced considerable demographic changes, witnessing a sustained increase of its foreign-born population. Against this general background, this work aims to describe the patterns of political representation of immigrants within the Spanish receiving context, focusing particularly on the local level. In doing so, we use data from two original surveys conducted to multiple political parties in municipalities with high concentration of immigrant-origin residents. The first sample focuses on the nomination of immigrant candidates on the electoral lists presented by parties with representation at the national and regional level for the last three local elections, in all municipalities where one of the following groups - Romanians, Moroccans, Bulgarians and Latin Americans - represent at least 15 per cent of the population. The second sample looks exclusively at the 2011 local elections in the region of Madrid, with a survey conducted to parties in all the municipalities of the region where immigrant origin residents constitute at least 15 per cent of the population.

Our findings point towards a substantive pattern of under-representation of immigrants, as all groups show levels of representation lower than we would expect following descriptive representation criteria. However, the data also shows interesting inter-group variation, with some immigrant communities being more likely to benefit from the new opportunities of political representation than others. Finally, the study also addresses the issue of the potential impact of different factors on immigrants’ political representation, thus helping to better understand the reasons behind this variation between groups and municipalities.