The right to vote

Young man with learn­ing dif­fi­cul­ties wins elec­tion fight

Costa Blanca News (North Edition) - - NEWS - By Samantha Kett

A GAN­DIA (La Safor, Va­len­cia) youth with learn­ing dif­fi­cul­ties has won back his right to vote in the forth­com­ing Euro­pean Par­lia­men­tary elec­tions af­ter a le­gal bat­tle by his mother.

Víc­tor Díaz, aged 25, has a much younger men­tal age and his mum, Marisa Ro­dríguez, sought to have him de­clared 'legally in­ca­pac­i­tated' to avoid fu­ture prob­lems.

This would mean he would not be able to sign con­tracts or de­fend him­self per­son­ally in court, so that if, in later life, he had as­sets or money in his name, it would be harder for any­one to swin­dle him out of it through ' hard sell' tech­niques or mis-sold fi­nan­cial ser­vices or other prod­ucts.

But once Víc­tor was cer­ti­fied as 'legally in­ca­pac­i­tated' in Jan­uary 2013 af­ter years of pa­per­work, the terms and con­di­tions stated that he would no longer have the right to vote in any elec­tions.

Marisa said: "I only wanted to pro­tect my son from po­ten­tially los­ing fu­ture property or sav­ings, not to take away all his le­gal rights with it.

"The United Na­tions states that an in­di­vid­ual's le­gal in­ca­pac­ity does not pre­vent them from ex­er­cis­ing their civil rights.

"Spain adopted this as stan­dard prac­tice in 2008, but did not in­cor­po­rate it into state law."

Víc­tor had al­ways voted in elec­tions, de­spite his disability, since turn­ing 18, and is de­scribed as a 'very aware' young man who 'en­joys sports and mu­sic'.

A long-winded le­gal bat­tle en­sued, which in­volved an ap­peal to the re­gional High Court of Jus­tice, be­fore Marisa's claim was up­held - a ver­dict she re­ceived this week.

"I was an­gry be­cause I thought they weren't go­ing to let me vote in the elec­tions, but in the end I'll be able to," said Víc­tor.

He at­tends an oc­cu­pa­tional day cen­tre in L'Al­quería de la Comtessa all week, and says he en­joys his time there.

"We do work­shops where we learn a lot, it's like hav­ing a job," Víc­tor re­veals.

"I also do a lot of sport ev­ery day. We've got a drama group and right now we're pre­par­ing to do the mu­si­cal 'Hair'."

The cen­tre helps teach Víc­tor skills to pre­pare him to be as in­de­pen­dent as pos­si­ble in the fu­ture, ex­plains Marisa.

A uni­ver­sal right?

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