Maruste: Estonian Society Would Be More Open With a Lower Voting Age
At a open session of the Constitutional Committee, Chairman Rait Maruste said 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 change would show that society is open and willing to adapt to changing circumstances, Maruste said on Tuesday, adding that the coalition is ready to bring in such legislation, while the opposition has its doubts.
Tallinn University Professor Anu Toots said giving younger people voting rights would help integration as those who are yet to decide on a citizenship would be more likely to select Estonia.
Maruste said the average age of voters would decrease to a “more sensible” mark, adding that currently politics is viewed as a bad thing, but it affects all of society and political debates should take place already in schools.
Politicians are kept away from schools as teachers and parents think children should be protected, which has led to younger people being ignorant about democracy.
Jaak Aaviksoo of the IRL faction said few young people, from 18 to 25, participate in elections and lowering the voting age might not bring many new people to the polls. Toots said she does not agree, as 16- and 17-year-olds are more connected to local politics than the 18-to-25 group, who have left their home to study at universities.