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  • Writer's pictureGabriella Mikiewicz

New article in Routed Magazine: Migration and political (non-)participation in origin countries

I am proud to announce that the DIASPolitic team has published an article on Routed Magazine which brings the findings from our research public! As we prepare articles for academic journals, the intention of publishing on Routed was to also share the results of our study in a more accessible way, which is why we also translated this article into Polish and Romanian, allowing our participants to access this information without language or institutional barriers.

Find a snippet of the article below:

Migration and political (non-)participation in origin countries

By Gabriella Mikiewicz, Anatolie Cosciug, Kacper Szulecki, Corina Tulbure, Marta Bivand Erdal, Davide Bertelli, Angelina Kussy - Written for and published by Routed Magazine

Recent decades have seen an increase in the number of European states which allow their citizens abroad to vote in national elections. External voting – that is, voting in origin country elections from abroad – has become an important feature of contemporary democratic politics. Despite this and the large amount of research on migrant political participation in countries of residence, we still know markedly little about migrants’ motivations to vote (or not) in origin country elections, and whether migration impacts voting habits and preferences.

From January to May 2020, the DIASPOlitic* team conducted over 80 interviews with Poles and Romanians in Oslo and Barcelona* to research external voting practices of intra-European migrants. Poland and Romania are among the largest senders of migrants to other European countries, and large Polish and Romanian populations reside in Norway and Spain (Anghel et al, 2016, Ciobanu 2015, Godzimirski et al 2015, Bivand Erdal & Lewicki 2016). For intra-European migrants, external voting rights are almost universal, and thus the legal barriers for migrants to vote in their country of origin elections are low, allowing us to take a deeper look at the personal choices of migrants in their voting habits.

Snapshot of our interviewees

Through the analysis of the interviews, we discovered a pool of fascinating insights, including migrants’ personal desires to vote and even hopes to ‘change’ their homeland through voting, as well as the impact of political campaigns on their mobilisation.

While some respondents simply had no interest in either voting or politics at large, others said that their interest in homeland politics was ‘pushed down somewhere to a lower priority’ after migrating (Michał, Polish migrant in Oslo, 34). Interestingly, some interviewees expressed concerns about the very idea of external voting, resulting in them not participating. Przemek in Barcelona told us,

‘I think that people that don’t live in their country anymore should not have voting rights. […] It’s sick that a person that doesn’t live there should decide who becomes the next president. The people that live there will have to put up with this.’ (Przemek, Polish migrant in Barcelona, 42)

For some of those who participate in external voting, this is an affirmation of democracy and civic rights: ‘It is our responsibility to vote. Others are fighting to have this right’ (Elena, Romanian migrant in Oslo, 35). Some participants who vote regularly emphasised that they perceive this act as a way to change their homeland for the better, and try to inform their loved ones of different perspectives and influence their election choices. Through our interviews, we saw that many migrants were concerned with the future of their friends and families in Romania and Poland. Read more at Routed Magazine.


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