Politics Can Be Different’s youth chapter would lower voting age to 16

August 8, 2017

Photo: Magyar Nemzet

Politics Can Be Different’s (LMP) youth chapter “The Future Can Be Different” would broaden the electorate by giving the right to vote for those above 16, reports Magyar Nemzet.

LMP’s youth chapter would introduce new voters gradually, first in the municipal and European Parliamentary elections and local referendums, then an electoral cycle later in the general elections and national referendums. The Future Can be Different co-chairs Klaudia Apostol and Zoltán Páli argue that there are good international examples of lowering the age limit, but that those who run for an elected position would still have to be at least 18 years-old.

Zoltán Páli told Magyar Nemzet that the idea was welcomed by LMP and the party will propose a bill to change the election law in autumn. Páli said that for the time being, they would not care whether the Fidesz-Christian Democratic People’s Party (KDNP) majority in the National Assembly supports the proposition or not. However, Páli said he hoped parliamentary parties would understand that Hungary would only become a better place if more people have a word in public affairs. The Future Can Be Different’s proposition is also an answer to the radical right-wing Jobbik’s last week proposal of denying the right to vote from those lacking an elementary education.

According to Centre For Fair Political Analysis researcher Attila Tibor Nagy, Austrian citizens can vote from the age of 16 and the purpose of the modified law is to increase turnout and bring young people closer to politics. By contrast, Nagy believes Jobbik’s proposition is politically self-defeating in that no political party would support it and it counters basic election principles.

With the exception of Democratic Coalition (DK), no parliamentary party commented on the proposition.  DK spokesman Zsolt Gréczy told Magyar Nemzet that this question is not on his party’s agenda and it would be better if opposition parties concentrated their power on solving the crises of the public healthcare and education systems instead. Gréczy argued that there is no point in debating this question since nothing would force Fidesz to deal with the matter eight months out from the general election.