France’s Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports is pondering a proposal to introduce an age cap on politicians seeking election after a government-backed report recommended it as a measure to make sure more young people were included in politics. The report made a series of recommendations including lowering the voting age to 16, limiting the number of terms which an official can serve in the houses of parliament to three, and banning politicians over 70 from standing for election. Although youth minister Patrick Kanner is considering the measures insisting they can make a positive difference, the concept of an age cap has provoked accusations of ageism from MPs.
The bill has since been attacked by members of both the ruling Socialist party as well as by the opposition Republican party (formerly known as the UMP). Bernard Debré, 70-year-old Republican MP, told public broadcaster Europe 1 that an age cap would be a “denial of democracy,” adding that if similar measures were in place in the past it could have sidelined figures such as Charles de Gaulle and Winston Churchill, who were both elected to lead their countries while in their seventies.
Socialists Jérôme Guedj and François Loncle also criticised the plans. Guedj called it “a dangerous idea” and “real ageist discrimination” on his Twitter page, saying that he feared it could lead to an age cap on driving or voting. Meanwhile, according to conservative daily Le Figaro, 73-year-old Loncle said: “I consider myself to be in better shape than many of my colleagues in their fifties, and I work more than a lot of them.”
Full Article: France considers banning MPs aged over 70.