“The The plan of the SNP is to do in this election what was done in the last elections when it won a majority for independence in Parliament. [autónomo]. If we can get a majority for independence in the municipalities, we can also reinforce that message, which is that the people of Scotland want to choose their own future.”Martha Matos Coelho told Lusa.
The 44-year-old from Lisbon is vying for the SNP in the constituency [‘ward’] Lieberton/Gilmerton, south of the Scottish capital, where he settled about six years ago.
After the ‘Brexit’ referendum in 2016, when 52% of British voters voted for the UK to leave the European Union, she decided to become politically active with the pro-European Independence Party.
“I didn’t want to let things happen without offering my help,” he explained, as a leader at the local level.
Residing in a former mining district undergoing urban and social renewal, she poses as an environmental advocate, immigrant, pro-independence candidate and single mother of two.
He defended this, saying, “I try to express my opinion, because there are not only traditional families, but there are families like me who are going through their own difficulties, and the municipality has to know how to help them.”
Edinburgh has a large immigrant population, so the pool of SNP candidates is also diverse, including citizens of Fiji, USA, Tanzania and the Caribbean.
“If she is elected, great, but if she is not, it is worth the experience” said Martha Coelho, an optimist with about 50% support in the district, because she “learned a lot.”
Less confident is Iolanda Bano Vegas, who is also running for a party that wants independence, in this case in Wales, where the issue is not on the political agenda.
The Portuguese Communities Counselor is a candidate for Plaid Cymru in the village of Wrexham, where she has lived for 22 years, in County Erddig, after a failed attempt in 2017.
“Actually, I know I’m not going to win. I wasn’t born with politics, but I do believe in seeing more diversity in democracy,” Iolanda Vegas justified, in Llosa’s remarks.
During the campaign, she has raised awareness of local problems, such as better bus service, dog waste on sidewalks and potholes in roads, but she also takes care of broader issues, such as the rising cost of living.
City Hall [‘council’] Wrexham needs to use the £250m annual budget [300 milhões de euros] more proactively to help the local economy recover,” he advocated.
In addition to being the founder of the Portuguese language community in Wrexham, Vegas is associated with the National Theater of Wales and anti-racism initiatives.
At least nine Portuguese are running for British local elections on May 5, the highest number ever, reflecting the growing interest in political participation by Portuguese immigrants and descendants.
In England, 4,360 seats will be contested in 146 municipalities, in Scotland there will be 1,227 seats in 32 localities and in Wales 1,200 seats will be voted on in 22 municipalities.
Local elections are held in England almost every year, but in different municipalities or constituencies.
The Portuguese community in the United Kingdom is estimated to number around 400,000, and is the fourth largest in Europe after Poland, Romania and Italy.
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