Malta is now the second country in the EU to legally lower the voting age in all elections. While other European countries such as Estonia have introduced the policy at local level, Austria is the only other to embrace vote at 16 at all levels and recently celebrated ten years of giving 16 and 17 year olds a vote in elections.
The benefits of lowering the voting age to 16 are undeniable. Not only has it been proven to have a clear, positive impact on youth engagement and young people’s political knowledge but also helps to instill a habit of voting at a younger age, ultimately boosting lifelong participation rates.
The timing of this new law is important as it means that young people in Malta will be able to have their say in the upcoming European Parliament elections in 2019. This is an incredible opportunity for these elections to #YouthUp and meaningfully engage more young Europeans in the future of Europe.
Today’s victory for youth rights could not have been possible without the strong voices of Maltese youth, particularly the amazing and dedicated work of the National Youth Council of Malta (KNZ) that has been at the forefront of the campaign for voting rights.
Michael Piccinino, President of the Maltese National Youth Council
“We are delighted that Maltese society is finally demonstrating that we believe in our young people. By lowering the voting age Malta is giving a new voice to young generations and taking an important step forward for youth rights.”
Luis Alvarado, President of the European Youth Forum:
“Congratulations, Malta! Today is a historic day not only for the country but also for young people across Europe who are campaigning for their right to vote. This result today is a direct impact of the excellent work of our member organisation, KNZ, and its commitment to #YouthUp Malta. Well done!”
He continues: “The European Youth Forum has been heavily campaigning for many years to give young people from the age of 16 the right to vote. This must become a reality for all young people across Europe. We urge all national governments to follow in this direction to build stronger, more representative democracies with young people at the heart.”