The right to vote
Young man with learning difficulties wins election fight
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?