The Estonian Parliament has passed a bill that gives the 16-year-olds the right to vote in the Estonian local government elections. As this requires a change in constitution, the next Parliament, assembling after March elections, has to approve the bill for it to take effect.
The bill was passed with 62 votes in favor. If the next Parliament secures the votes of two fifths of the 101 MPs, the constitution will be changed to lower the voting age in local elections by two years.
The bill will be one of the first to be put in front of the new Parliament, elected in less than three weeks. If passed, the 16- and 17-year-olds can vote in the 2017 elections.
The advocates of the bill argue that as the society is aging, older people form an increasing majority of the electorate, making the decisions that affect the younger generation.
Lowering the voting age will give about 24,000 more people the right to vote. Considering that about 60 percent will use this right, the electorate should increase by approximately 14,000-15,000 people.
Editor: M. Oll