5.2 Youth participation in representative democracy
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The minimum age for voting at national, local and European parliament elections is 18 years. There are no special provisions for young people in the electoral law or rules.
There was a broad political and public discussion on lowering the voting age to 16 years in the context of the reform of the Luxembourgish Constitution.
A constitutional referendum was held in Luxembourg on 7 June 2015 to survey opinion of the population on amendments. Voters were asked 3 questions, one of which was dealing with lowering the voting age.
The question was: 'Do you approve of the idea that Luxembourg citizens aged between sixteen and eighteen should have the right to optionally register on electoral lists in order to participate as voters in the elections to the Chamber of Deputies, the European elections, municipal elections and referendums?'
All three proposed constitutional amendments were ultimately rejected by the voters. With regard to the voting turnout, there is no published data available about the young population in Luxembourg. Although voting is compulsory in Luxembourg, the Flash Eurobarometer 455 (European Commission, 2017) observes a very low participation of young voters (aged between 15 and 30 years) in elections.
Specifically, 21% of these young voters participate at local level and 23% at national level.
A possible explanation for this surprisingly low figure (given that voting is compulsory) might be the high percentage of young people who have not obtained the Luxembourgish nationality, and thus would not have the right to vote, or would first have to apply for registration on the electoral roll.
Another explanation for the low turnout could be young age. With a share of 34%, a high number of the Eurobarometer participants state that they are not eligible to vote because they were not old enough to vote.
There is no top-level legislation on young people as members of political parties or party youth wings. Party youth wings are considered to be youth organisations as defined by the 2008 youth law. They receive a small annual lump sum for administrative tasks from the Ministry of Education, Children and Youth.
In 2023, one parliament member of the Greens was under 30 years of age. The average age of the parliament members is 52.8 years.
A legislation exists that defines an age limit for standing as a candidate in elections. According to the 2003 law on voting (loi électorale du 18 février 2003), the age limit for standing as a candidate in national, local and European elections is 18 years. There is no further legislation dealing with young people as candidates.
Most Luxembourgish political parties have youth departments/sections where young people can be involved and represent their interests.
The following list includes political parties that have their own youth sections or youth parties that are not officially affiliated with a party: