5.10 Current debates and reforms
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Actions to promote young people's participation
Young people's influence and participation has been a central part of Swedish youth policy since it was introduced in the early 1990s. The Government's youth policy action programme for the years 2021-2024 includes efforts for promoting young people's participation in democracy. Some examples of the actions are presented in section 5.8 Raising political awareness among young people.
Lowering the voting age to 16
The EU Youth Dialogue was during 2020-2021 focusing on the Youth Goal 9, Space and participation for all. The goal has several targets, one of them being "Increase youth participation and thus equal representation in the electoral process as well as in elected bodies and other decision-making organs at all levels of society."
The Youth Conference under the German precidency formed among others the following political demand:
"Ensure young people's access to formal decisionmaking by lowering the age of voting and political candidacy to 16 in all elections, while ensuring all youths have the opportunity to gain sufficient skills and motivation to participate actively and passively in elections, as well as removing all barriers to voting."
In Sweden, a proposal of lowering the voting age in municipal elections has been raised on a few occasions since the turn of the millennium, but so far interest has been low. The youth movement is actively buildning opinion in favour for lowering the voting age, but among the political parties only the Green Party (Miljöpartiet de gröna) has it on the party's agenda. In November 2021, the Minister for Culture and Democracy, Amanda Lind (Green party), submitted five proposals to strengthen Swedish democracy in a debate article, one of which was to lower the voting age to 16. Althoug the proposal was given by a minister, it is yet not a government proposal.