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EACEA National Policies Platform: Youthwiki


5. Participation

5.10 Current debates and reforms

Voting age

At this moment, the lowering of the voting age is still a hot issue in Flanders (See 5.10). In May 2016 the Flemish Youth Council voted an opinion pro-voting 16.  Most of the Flemish political parties ((the green party ‘Groen’, the socialist party ‘SP.A’, the liberal party ‘Open VLD’, the Christian democrats CD&V ) hold a positive opinion on the introduction of voting rights – not voting obligation as is now the case for Belgians from the age of 18 - at 16 years. On July 15, 2015 a number of party members of Groen and Ecolo (Groen is the Flemish green party, Ecolo the French green party) submitted a bill to lower the voting age for the European, federal, regional and local elections to 16 years. The right wing parties (Flemish nationalist party N-VA and Vlaams Belang) still oppose voting rights at 16 has not taken a clear stand. At 10 december 2019 SP.A and Groen submitted a motion for a decision concerning voting rights from the age of 16 in which the Flemish Government is asked to take the necessary measures to ensure that young people from the age of 16 are entitled to vote in the municipal and provincial elections in 2024. However, the motion was rejected in the plenary: 28 members voted in favor (all representatives of SP.A and Groen), 85 members voted against and 1 member of the liberal party abstained.