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EACEA National Policies Platform


5. Participation

5.2 Youth participation in representative democracy

Last update: 29 March 2024
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  1. Young people as voters
  2. Young people as political representatives

Young people as voters

The voting age for participating in the elections of the country's representative democratic institutions, encompassing all levels, and even for the European Parliament elections, is set at 18. In the infrequent occurrence of referenda, the eligibility age for voting remains at 18. 

The electoral laws and rules do not include any specific provisions for young people, and there is a lack of legislation aimed at facilitating particular groups of young individuals to exercise their voting rights. The President of the Republic announced in the 2024 State of the Union his intention to reduce the voting age to 17. This development brings significant changes to the political landscape, offering young citizens the opportunity to participate more actively in the democratic process.

The Ministry of Interior (Υπουργείο Εσωτερικών) which is responsible for the elections in the country keeps record for the turnout of the whole population, but not the young people specifically. According to the announcements of the Ministry, in the Presidential runoff Elections 2023 , the overall turnout was 72,45% in second round of presidential elections while in the previous presidential elections of 2018 was 71,9%. In addition, in the parliamentary elections of 2019 the overall turnout was 65,72%, while in the previous parliamentary elections of 2016 was 66,74%. According to the third Youth Barometer, 61% of young people aged 18-35 reported that they voted in the last parliamentary elections of 2021 but as mentioned above, there is no official data on the exact turnout of the youth population. At the same time, the “Active youth participation in social and democratic life” (« Η ενεργός συμμετοχή των νέων στα κοινά και στη δημοκρατική ζωή του τόπου»)  research conducted among young people aged 18-35, for the Youth Board of Cyprus (YBC), indicated that 72% of the respondents voted in the 2016 parliamentary elections. Ιn the 2019 European elections, the overall turnout was 44,99%.

Young people as political representatives

There is currently no overarching legislation specifically addressing young individuals as members of political parties.

According to the Parliamentary elections Law (Ο περί Εκλογής Μελών της Βουλής των Αντιπροσώπων Νόμος του 1979 (Ν. 72/1979), individuals must be at least 21 years old to be eligible to stand as a candidate in parliamentary elections. According to the Local elections law (Ο περί Κοινοτήτων Νόμος του 1999 (86(I)/1999), candidates must have reached the age of 21 by the date of the elections for local offices. It is crucial to note that there are no reserved seat quotas for young people, and there are no existing provisions aimed at facilitating the participation of young individuals as political candidates.

After communicating with the Ministry of Interior (Υπουργείο Εσωτερικών), in the 2016 parliamentary elections 75 young people were candidates, 5 of which were elected. In the most recent local Elections (2016) young people were the 21,1% of the candidates. Eventually, 19,4% of the people elected were young people. In the European elections 2014, young people were the 8,2% of the candidates and none of them was elected. In the last parliamentary elections of 2021, 5 out of 56 people elected (9%) fell within the age range 21-35 at the time of their election.

There are not any functions reserved for young people within the representative assembly.