A bill to lower the voting age to 16 for the local council elections was approved on Wednesday evening following its first reading in the House of Representatives. It was presented by Parliamentary Secretary Jose’ Herrera and seconded by David Agius, the shadow minister for local councils. Dr Herrera commented “that this was a historic milestone and had been reached on the 20th anniversary of the founding of the councils.” Earlier in the evening discussion were held in the Tapestry Chamber where it was presided by the Speaker, Anglu Farrugia. Dr Herrera, Mr Agius, MP’s, mayors and young people (known as Ambassadors) representing the various councils, were present for the discussions. From there they moved to the Chamber of Parliament to follow the moving of the Bill for its First Reading.
Dr Herrera said that Malta would be the second country in the EU to grant local council voting rights to 16 year olds. He added that this shows a signal of confidence in the councils, as he urged all youths to participate in their communities.
Speaker Anglu Fenech stated it “was significant that the discussion with regards to this decision was being held in the same Chamber in which many important decisions were taken on Malta’s Constitution, Independence and the declaration of the Republic.”
Mr Agius also urged all youths to take the opportunity which was given to them and to vote in local council elections. 16 year olds will be able to vote for the first time in the 2015 elections.