Parliament opens the way to the right to vote from 16 in Switzerland

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Young people should be able to vote from the age of 16. The political institutions committee of the Council of States approved, by 7 votes to 6, a parliamentary initiative in this direction by Sibel Arslan (Verts / BS).

16-year-olds are very interested in politics and want to participate, says the author of the text. They receive the necessary political education. Participation in elections and votes would be a good starting point for engagement in political life, continues the national adviser. Young people could then benefit from the right to be elected when they reach civilian majority.

The initiative, having already been accepted by the National Council, a project can be directly developed.

At the cantonal level, the Glarus exception

At cantonal level, only Glarus so far grants the right to vote at 16 years old. A victim of the exodus of his young people, in 2007 he chose to send them a signal to encourage them to stay in the country.

Read also: Glarus: the lessons of the right to vote at 16

In February 2020, Neuchâtel citizens refused by 58.5% the lowering of the civic majority to 16 years. The Jura Parliament did the same a few months later. Projects are under discussion in several cantons, including Vaud, Geneva, Valais, Bern and Zurich.

Internationally, Austria has enjoyed the right to vote from the age of 16 for the past ten years. The experience is conclusive: 16 and 17 year olds are apparently more likely to vote than older new voters.