Proposal to grant Spanish nationality to Saharawis ignored in Parliament

Proposal to grant Spanish nationality to Saharawis ignored in Parliament

Sahrawis who had hoped to receive Spanish nationality have suffered a setback, as the legislation was pulled from the Spanish parliament’s floor this week. 

Due to the early announcement of legislative elections, the efforts to simplify the process of obtaining the nationality had been halted, according to El Confidencial Digital.

The attempt, initiated individually without the backing of an approved parliamentary motion, has been left in limbo due to the unforeseen electoral shift. 

Earlier this year, the left-wing political group Unidas Podemos introduced a proposal in February, seeking to grant Spanish nationality to Sahrawis born before 1976 and their direct descendants. 

The proposition suggested that obtaining nationality would be facilitated by presenting identification documents such as a national identity card, family book, or birth certificate issued by Spanish authorities before 1976. This streamlined process aimed to allow Sahrawis to acquire Spanish citizenship within a span of five years.

While the proposal garnered support from various parliamentary factions, including Podemos, the Basque Nationalist Party, the Catalan Left, and the People’s Party, it faced opposition from the Socialist Party (PSOE).

Sergio Gutiérrez, a Socialist Party representative, justified the negative vote by highlighting differences in the design of the proposal.

Despite the proposal receiving initial consideration, the impending legislative elections have led to its stagnation, preventing it from being passed into law. 

Sahrawis looking to obtain Spanish nationality through this initiative are now required to engage the services of specialized immigration lawyers to navigate the complex process, and access colonial records. 

This process takes years, involving residency permits and proof of employment. In contrast, citizens from certain countries, including Ibero-American nations, Andorra, the Philippines, Equatorial Guinea, and Sephardic Jews, have quicker pathways due to historical ties.

This development comes on the heels of a similar setback in 2021, when a proposal to simplify the process of obtaining Spanish nationality for Sahrawis was also ignored.

In June 2020, the Spanish judiciary had already ruled that the Moroccan Sahara could not be considered an integral part of Spain, thus preventing its population from claiming the same origin-based nationality rights as those born in Spain.


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