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EACEA National Policies Platform


5. Participation

5.2 Youth participation in representative democracy

Last update: 24 June 2021
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  1. Young people as voters
  2. Young people as political representatives

Young people as voters


In France, the voting age (for all types of elections) is 18, i.e. the age of majority (Law no. 74-631 of 5 July 1974 setting the age of majority at eighteen).

Each young French person who has completed “citizen census” formalities at the age of 16 and who has reached the age of majority is automatically added to the electoral registers (Law no. 2016-1048 of 1 August  2016 renewing the terms and conditions for entry in the electoral registers).

The electoral participation rate of young French people varies according to elections: municipal, département, and European elections bring out fewer voters than the presidential election, which attracts out young voters in the greatest numbers, as it does for the rest of the population.


Presidential elections

During the 2017 presidential election, according to the Government, in the second round of the election of the turnout for entire France is 74, 56 %.

According to Ipsos /Sopra steria survey nearly 30% of the under-35s (29% of those aged 18-24, 28% of the 25-34 year-olds) did not vote for the first round of the 2017 presidential election.

According to INSEE ”Voting during the two rounds of presidential elections and abstaining during legislative elections is a choice made more frequently by young electors than by older electors […] Between the ages of 18 and 34 , three registered voters in ten only vote during the two rounds of presidential elections. For these elections, the number of voters who only vote during one of the two rounds is also highest in younger voters : 8% of registered voters aged between 18 and 29 only voted during the first round and 5% only voted during the second, compared with 3% and 2% respectively for registered voters of 55 years old and over”.



Municipal elections

The first round of municipal elections took place on 15 March 2020. The second round, scheduled for 22 March, was postponed to 28 June 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic. According to the Ministry of the Interior, the final turnout for the second round of the 2020 municipal elections was 41.6%.

The abstention rate was 58.4% for all age groups.

According to an estimate by the Ipsos-Sopra Steria polling institute, abstention reached 72% in the 18-34 age group.





European elections

In the 2019 European elections, the overall turnout was 50.2% (up from 2014).According to the IFOP polling institute, the turnout among 18-34 year olds was 40%, compared to only a quarter in the previous election in 2014.




Young people as political representatives


There is no particular legislation covering the representation of young people in assemblies, or their place and role within political parties.

The minimum age for membership (of political parties) is set by the parties themselves. According to article LO.127 of the Electoral Code, “on the date of the first round of voting, any person who meets the conditions to be a voter […] may be elected to the National Assembly”. The conditions for being a voter are set by article L.2 of the Electoral Code, which states that all French people who have reached the age of 18 and who enjoy civil and political rights can be voters.