Parties support lowering voting age for local elections
Two of the three coalition partners in the government of Flanders are in favour of lowering the voting age to 16 for local elections, but they need to convince N-VA
Young people ‘live longest with consequences’
The two parties have the support of opposition parties SP.A and Groen, but not of the third coalition partner, N-VA. This means there will not be enough support for the measure to pass when it comes up for discussion in a few weeks’ time.
The youth wings of all parties except N-VA and Vlaams Belang have expressed their support, as has the Flemish Youth Council, the government’s official youth advisory body.
“We are calling for some political courage to amend the voting decree and give young people access to the ballot box,” said Youth Council chair, Nozizwe Dube (pictured). “Young people have to live longest with the consequences of decisions, but they have the weakest voice.”
But while the organisation is in favour of extending the right to vote to 16- and 17-year-olds, they are not in favour of extending the obligation to vote that applies to adults over 18 in Belgium. “We want young people to be given the right to take part in elections, but not to be forced,” said Dube, adding that some teenagers did not feel ready to cast a ballot.
population of Belgium in millions of people, with 6.2 million living in Flanders.
number of state reforms that have resulted in the federal system as it is today.
number of years for which the federal House of Representatives and the Senate are elected.