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EACEA National Policies Platform


5. Participation

5.2 Youth participation in representative democracy

Last update: 28 November 2023
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  1. Young people as voters
  2. Young people as political representatives

Young people as voters

According to the Act No. 24/2000, all those who have reached the age of 18 and are domiciled in Iceland are eligible to vote in the parliamentary elections when the election takes place. According to the Act No. 5/1998, every Icelandic national who has reached the age of 18 at the time local government elections take place is eligible to vote in that election. Furthermore, it is necessary that he is legally domiciled in the municipality in question.

Overall, the voting turnout is lower among young people (aged 18 – 29) than other age groups, in the latest elections regardless of the type of elections held, i.e. presidential elections, parliamentary elections or local government elections.

According to data from Statistics Iceland, the turnout percentage among the various age groups was as follows:

​The 2016 Presidential elections:

​         18 - 29: 64,7%

​         30 - 39: 70,2%

​         40+: 81,4%


The 2016 General elections:

         18 - 29: 67,7%

         30 - 39: 74,2%

         40+: 84,8


​The 2014 Local government elections:

         18 - 29: 47,5

         30 - 39: 60,9

         40+: 75,6

Results from the 2014 local government elections are based on a random stratified sample of eligible voters.


Young people as political representatives

No top-level legislations pertains directly on young people as elected representatives or candidates in national and local elections. Young people fall under the general legislation of these matters which stipulates that a person must have reached the age of 18 to be eligible to elect and be elected for a seat in Parliament and local councils. Specific rules furthermore stipulate that for Parlimentary elections, a person must be an Icelandic citizen and hold current residency in Iceland, or be an Icelandic citizen with a residency overseas for no more than 8 years. Specific rules for local government elections dictate that a person must have a legal residency in the municipality in which the elctions take place.

According to the Icelandic constitution, young people are not eligible to run for the presidency. A person must have attained 35 years of age, and be an Icelandic citizen.