MOST Wants to Lower Voting Age to 16

By 13 November 2018

ZAGREB, November 13, 2018 - The opposition MOST party presented on Tuesday a constitutional initiative to enhance voting rights and change the voting age, proposing that the election law be amended to allow 16-year olds to vote and to introduce postal and on-line voting.

"The constitutional initiative concerns enhancing voting rights. It involves lowering the age of eligibility to vote from 18 to 16 years and the introduction of postal and on-line voting. Young people need to be included in political life and voting should be ensured for all citizens, particularly those have difficulty in exercising their voting right," MOST leader Božo Petrov said.

Empower the voice of youth

MOST has put its proposal for amendments to the Elections Act up for public consultation, after which it will forward it to parliament. "We recommend that the age limit for voting at all elections, including referendums, be lowered from 18 years because we want to empower the voice of youth, and that means about 100,000 people aged between 16 and 18, in the political life of the country," MOST MP and constitutional law professor Robert Podolnjak said.

He underscored that the proposal to lower the voting age was in line with trends in other EU member states.

In order to enable a new way of voting, it is necessary to amend the constitution, which says that Croatian citizens who are resident abroad can vote at diplomatic-consular missions. Postal and e-voting should be made possible for all citizens, Podolnjak said.

MOST has proposed the initiative because currently about 50% of the electorate votes at parliamentary elections and in other elections that percentage is even lower, which is a significant democratic deficiency, Podolnjak said.

Podolnjak said that MOST was also motivated in light of the uncertainty of the constitutional referendum initiative to reform the election system.

"The most important changes include: reducing the number of lawmakers in parliament (from the present 151) to 120, of whom six would be national minority representatives and three MPs would represent citizens living outside the country. In general election constituencies, 111 lawmakers would be elected. Constituencies would follow the boundaries of counties and the City of Zagreb and at least 15 deputies would be elected in each constituency. The election threshold for a seat in parliament would be reduced from 5% to 4%. Voters would have the right to three preferential votes and the order of elected delegates would be based on the number of preferential votes won," Podolnjak said.

For more on MOST’s initiatives, click here.