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Mayor impact: Brexit felt in rural Germany as village loses its chief

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Mayor impact: Brexit felt in rural Germany as village loses its chief
Copyright  MORRIS MAC MATZEN / AFP
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Marooned in a transition period, Brexit has yet to have a big impact. But, in a tiny northern Germany village, its effects are being felt.

The Scottish mayor of Brunsmark, 50 kilometres east of Hamburg, has been forced to step down after the UK's EU divorce.

Brexit caused Iain Macnab to lose both his right to vote locally in Germany and stand as a candidate. To make matters worse, he's lived outside of the UK for more than 15 years, so he also cannot exercise his democratic duties there.

The 70-year-old, who has been in Germany for nearly three decades, told AFP news agency that he lost everything at midnight on 31 January.

"I cannot vote in Germany anymore," he said. "It is very strange to suddenly realise that I cannot vote anywhere anymore."

Macnab comes from Achiltibuie, northern Scotland and has married a German citizen with whom he had three children, who are German citizens too. He never applied for German citizenship but says he has "considered it" a few times.

For a while after the Brexit vote, he believed a second referendum would be organised, he said.

"The EU has negative aspects, that's for sure, but if you're in, you can change things. You can't do that when you're out."

The former mayor has left his post to his deputy "with a bit of sadness". He had been the village's mayor for 12 years.

Despite never wanting Scottish independence before Brexit, Macnab said he would now "tend to support it".