MSPs are considering giving refugees and asylum seekers the right to vote and stand as candidates in Scottish elections, under new proposals.
The Scottish Elections Bill includes a move to extend the vote to people who are legally resident in Scotland, regardless of their nationality, as part of a range of reforms to electoral law.
The Scottish Greens are aiming to ensure a refugee who has had their application to enter or remain in the UK recorded would be deemed to be a “qualifying foreign national”, with the party submitting an amendmant to the bill.
It would allow them to cast a vote, stand in elections and hold political office.
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A Scottish Government spokeswoman said: “This groundbreaking legislation will underline the reputation Scotland has already established as a welcoming nation.
“The Bill, as introduced, enables foreign nationals to vote for the first time, giving them a voice on matters which affect them.
“The Scottish Elections (Franchise and Representation) Bill already makes provision to give the vote to all those granted refugee status.
“We have examined proposals to expand the franchise for those with a pending asylum claim but electoral registration officers have highlighted practical concerns over obtaining residency information and in ensuring that those whose claim is refused, or who leave Scotland, can be removed from the electoral register.”
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