5.2 Youth participation in representative democracy
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Voting age limit
The minimum age to vote in Belgium is 18.
The Belgian Government announced in October 2020 that 16 and 17 year olds will be granted the right to vote in European elections.
There are no special provisions for young people in the electoral rules for young people.
Vote is compulsory in Belgium according to the Belgian Constitution.
Young people as members of political parties
Political parties have a youth wing. These ones may be recognised as “thematic movements” under the decree related to Youth Organisations. Thematic movements, which are one type of Youth Organisations, gather volunteers who analyse social issues and raise awareness on citizen’s questions. Among the 16 thematic movements, 6 are political partie’s youth wings:
1. Liberal youth movement (Jeunes MR). This organisation is composed of 102 local groups. 2. Ecologist youth movement (Ecolo-J). This organisation is composed of 10 local groups. 3. Socialist youth movement (Mouvement des Jeunes Socialistes). 4. Youth movement of Centre, democrat, Humanist (Jeunes cdh Centre démocrate Humaniste). This organisation is composed of 800 members. 5. Youth Labour party of Belgium (Mouvement de jeunes du PTB – COMAC). This organisation is composed of 21 local groups. 6. Defi youth (Défi Jeunes). This organisation is composed of 33 local groups.
These associations are recognised and funded as youth organisations by the Youth Department of the French-speaking Community.
Young people as elected representatives
Candidates for election must be at least 21 years old for:
- the European elections
- the Federal elections.
Since 2004, the age to be candidate for elections has been lowered to 18 years old for:
- the Regional elections
- the local elections.
There are no quotas for young people.