Non-EU citizens living in Rome have an extra month both to register to vote for their representatives for city and local councils and to present their candidates for these elections. The deadline is now 31 Jan 2004 instead of 31 Dec 2003. The elections will also be later than initially planned and are now scheduled for 28 March. The city's department of multiethnicity said that the previous schedule was just too tight. The representatives, or auxiliary councillors four for the city council and one for each of the local councils or municipi will be able to take part in council sessions but they will not be allowed to vote. All non-EU immigrants aged 18 or above who are legally resident in Rome, or working or studying in Rome and resident elsewhere in Italy, are entitled to vote and to stand as candidates for election. EU citizens already have full voting rights in city and local council elections.

To register to vote, non-EU citizens who are resident in Rome need a photocopy of their permit of stay and valid ID; in addition to these documents, non-residents also need a certificate of registration from their school or university, or a declaration from their employer. Those waiting for their permit of stay need a photocopy of their request.

The details still have to be worked out but in theory aspiring candidates for the city council need to convince 100-250 people to support them by signing a list at their local municipio in the presence of an official. Hopefuls for a local council seat need to drum up 30-75 signatures. For more information contact the department for multiethnicity, tel. 0668307278/7665.

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