5.2 Youth participation in representative democracy
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The citizen of the Slovak Republic can take part in elections (from the local level up to the EU-level) from the age of 18 years (Act on Association in Political Parties/Zákon o politických stranách). The same age limit must also be reached regarding participation in a referendum.
Discussions on decrease of the voters’ age limit are being carried out; nevertheless the official solution of this question in the form of a specific parliamentary negotiation or a referendum is not planned within a short-term time-horizon.
Concerning young people’s participation in elections no special measures exist – possibilities such as voting in a hospital or while at home treatment, voting in a prison and the like are available for them equally as for other groups of citizens.
In the parliamentary elections in 2020, the number of first-time voters (age 18 - 21) was 213 000 (the exit poll statistics). In the European elections in 2019 the participation has risen compared to the previous elections in 2014. According to the results of the Eurobarometer, the youth participation (age 18-24) has risen from 6% to 11%. Similarly, the number of young people (age 25-34) increased to 25%. The electoral turnout in European elections was the lowest of all EU member states – 22,74% (European elections 2019 in Slovakia: Results and context/Európske voľby 2019 na Slovensku: Výsledky a súvislosti).
Over the years there have been several initiatives led by the non-formal groups of students in cooperation with regional youth councils to organise students´ mock elections before local, regional, national and European elections. The aim of the initiative is to help high-school students learn how to practice their voting rights. The national elections 2020 were carried out in 173 schools (60 000 students) with the turnout of 57% (www.studentskevolby.sk/en).
Young people can become members of a political party from the age of 18 years (Act on political movements and political parties/ Zákon o politických stranách a politických hnutiach). There are, however, no official political parties´ youth wings. The majority of the active political parties have their own youth organisations and their number has been recently rising together with the number of arising political parties. There is no official information available regarding the age and the number of members and in the majority of cases, people of age 15-35 can become members.
A candidate at the local and regional level must be a resident of a municipality/self-governing region who has a permanent residence in a municipality or military district belonging to the territory of the constituency in which he or she stands and who reaches the age of 18 at the latest on the day of the election. A mayor/chairman may be elected a resident of a municipality/self-governing region who reaches the age of 25 at the latest on the day of the election (Act on the Conditions of Electoral Law/Zákon o podmienkach výkonu volebného práva).
A person may be elected for a Member of the National Council of Slovak Republic if he or she is at least 21 years old on the day of elections and has a permanent residence in the Slovak Republic (Act on the Conditions of Electoral Law/Zákon o podmienkach výkonu volebného práva).
A candidate in European election can be a citizen of the Slovak Republic who reaches the age of 21 at the latest on the day of the election and has a permanent residence in the territory of the Slovak Republic or a citizen of another Member State who reaches the age of 21 at the latest on the day of the election has not been deprived of the right to be elected in the Member State of the European Union of which he or she is a citizen and has a permanent residence in the Slovak Republic.
There is no quota of seats reserved for young people by law; neither in the National Council nor on the list of candidates.
As of last national parliamentary elections in 2020, the average age of the Members of Parliament was 47. Only 9 out of 150 MPs were under 30 years old. The youngest Member was 22 years old. Officially, there are no functions within the representative assembly reserved for young people.