Bill to Lower Voting Age Submitted to Parliament ({{commentsTotal}})

MP Rait Maruste
MP Rait Maruste Source: (Postimees/Scanpix)
Draft legislation was introduced in Parliament to lower the voting age in local elections from 18 to 16 - a move that will require the approval of two consecutive parliaments.

According to the bill, all permanent residents of a municipality 16 years of age or older will be eligible to vote in local elections. The text notes the progress Estonia has made in the 22 years since the constitution that set the voting age was approved, ETV reported on Tuesday.

Rait Maruste, the head of the Parliament’s Legal Affairs Committee, submitted the bill, supported by 41 MPs.

Maruste told ETV on Tuesday that studies have shown that people who start voting from an early age will keep doing so and will become active citizens. In the past, he has said that giving the right to vote at least at the local level would bring more young people into politics and balance out Estonia's aging society.

The lowering of voting age would require a change in the constitution and the approval will have to be given by two consecutive parliaments. The current MPs will have a chance to approve it before the 2015 elections and the next parliament will have until the end of the year to make a decision.