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The youth in Berlin are already very politically active, especially with the Fridays for Future climate-marches

Berlin wants to lower voting age to 16

Berlin wants to lower voting age to 16

The German capital has tens of thousands of minors, who might have a chance to cast their vote in the 2026 local elections

Last week, the state government in Berlin agreed to get a constitutional amendment off the ground that aims to lower the voting age in local elections to 16. The amendment was put forward by the ruling coalition, however, they needed a two-thirds majority to pass it through the state parliament so they turned to the opposition for support.

Minors were able to vote in the city’s district elections, but the amendment will allow them to take part in the elections for the House of Representatives. According to a statement by the city, the change to Berlin’s constitution should pass by the end of the year, yet it will really take effect in the 2026 local parliamentary election.

Voting rights for the young

According to the latest demographic data, published by Eurostat, in 2020 Berlin had 87,000 people between the ages of 15 and 17, and most of them would gain the right to vote in state elections under the new amendment.

Many German states have already implemented a lower voting age in local and state elections, including Hamburg, Baden-Württemberg, as well as neighbouring Brandenburg. The parliamentary leader of the SPD in Berlin, Raed Saleh explained that he was a big supporter of lowered voting age, as more people deserve to vote.

Saleh also said that this could become a reality on the national level and in federal elections in Germany, and he described that many state governments are trying to lower the voting age.

The proposed amendment needed to find a two-thirds majority in Berlin’s state parliament, with the ruling coalition finding that support from the neo-liberal FDP party. The FDP’s parliamentary group leader Sebastian Czaja pointed out that a lot of local decisions affect the lives of younger would-be voters who lack a say in the matter. He gave an example of both the pandemic and the war in Ukraine.

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