The Estonian Riigikogu approved on Wednesday a bill lowering the voting age at local municipality elections from 18 to 16 years; the law amendment that requires a change in the Constitution needs also the approval of the next Riigikogu, in order to come in force, LETA/Postimees Online reports. The bill, initiated by 41 MPs, provides that for the law amendment to take effect, the new composition of the parliament must approve of it with a three-fifths majority vote in favour, i.e. at least 61 deputies have to vote for it. The bill goes in the new parliament to the final vote at once and it must be included in the agenda as soon as possible. If the new Riigikogu adopts the law, then at the next local elections in 2017, 16 and 17 year-olds can also cast their votes.
The aim of the law amendment is, via lowering the voting age, to involve young people more in local decision-making and in the discussion of public affairs.
There are around 24,000 16-18-year-olds in Estonia. Assuming that an average of nearly 60% of them would cast a vote, it would mean the addition of 14,000 to 15,000 voters.