A SUDANESE refugee who has been resettled in Stirling is today looking forward to voting in a democratic election for the first time.

Salah Komi, who hails from the Nuba Mountains area of Sudan, arrived to the city two years ago under the Syrian Refugee Resettlement Scheme.

The 45-year-old is one of many refugees who will be taking their first-ever opportunity to vote in a democratic election.

It comes after the Scottish Parliament passed legislation last year to extend the right to vote in Scottish elections to people who are over the age of 16 and live in Scotland, including people with refugee status.

Salah said: “I’m really looking forward to voting on Thursday and it will be really pleasing to have a say on what government we elect - I’ll be the happiest man in the world!

“In Sudan we didn’t have such a process for election, but I know how to vote and the processes involved by attending some sessions, reading things online and watching a lot of the debates and TV programmes.”

Stirling Council's Learning and Employability Team, along with volunteers at Forth Valley Welcome, have run workshops for the new voters, collaborating with the Scottish Refugee Council and the Electoral Commission.

Stuart Oliver, the council's senior manager for economic development and communities, added: “It’s fantastic that our resettled refugees in Stirling can now cast their vote in Scottish elections.

“You can tell how much this means to Salah and the other families, and it will make them feel a greater part of our communities where they make such a significant and positive contribution.

“Ahead of the election we have collaborated with a number of organisations to help our resettled families in Stirling understand the voting process to ensure they can fully exercise their democratic right.”