• Germany's news in English
 

Minister: 'Give children the vote'

Published: 04 Jan 2013 07:16 GMT+01:00

Dirk Niebel, Minister of Economic Cooperation and Development told the Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung (WAZ), "We must give children a voice - in elections as well."

The current age limit on voting in Germany is 18 which, he said, was "completely inappropriate" although he was not specific about when he wanted children to be given suffrage.

On a practical level, the Free Democrat (FDP) politician said that parents could take responsibility for overseeing their child's vote or even using on their behalf. This would give families a louder political voice and force politicians to take children and families more into consideration.

He argued that denying the vote to Germany's 17 million over-65s would be absurd, yet excluding children, a sixth of the country's population, was accepted without question.

Niebel's idea provoked constitutional objections from his colleagues.

Ingrid Fischbach from the Christian Democratic Union, the governing coalition partner alongisde the FDP told the WAZ that “no one can argue against the idea's charm” but that in reality “voting is a private matter and one that constitutionally cannot be exercised by a third party.”

She added that it would be hard to check whether parents were actually ticking the box their child had chosen.

Thomas Krüger, president of Germany's children's union, said that although he would be in favour of dropping the voting age to 16, and eventually 14, he disagreed with allowing parents a proxy vote for their child.

But support came from Paula Honkanen-Schoberth of Germany's national child protection association who said children should have voting rights as soon as they were born.

She said that children were often under-estimated and studies showed that they demonstrated interest in political issues from as early as the third grade.

The Local/jcw

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

10:45 January 4, 2013 by Tonne
Is it April already?
11:19 January 4, 2013 by MattyB
What a silly idea. If anything, the right to vote in national elections should be raised to 30.
11:27 January 4, 2013 by LancashireLad
What's absurd is there haven't been calls for his resignation. This idea is beyond absurd. 18 is a sensible enough cut off for this. Before that you've barely had time to accumulate enough life experience to make reasoned judgements. And who is the woman advocating voting rights from birth? Raving lunatic. So how do you register a vote from a baby born a month before the election? It doesn't even know that the things waving about in front of its face are its hands, let alone is it capable of using them to hold a pen .....
12:25 January 4, 2013 by yllusion
Heh.. we already have to consider votes of uneducated people over 18 years old and this guy proposes that more people without proper education, experience and understand of social, economical and political issues become detrimental to the future of a country? Can't be serious..
12:27 January 4, 2013 by frankiep
This is possibly the stupidest idea I have ever heard. Recent studies have shown that the part of the human brain responsible for critical reasoning and restricting risky behavior is not fully developed until the age of 25. I can accept 18 being the voting age since 18 year olds can enter the military and should therefore have a say in what their government is doing. But to allow people even younger than that to vote, when they have absolutely no clue as to how the real world works is just plain insanity.

I find it also incredibly insulting that this minister is comparing teenagers to people over 65 as a justification for this. He is essentially saying that a 15 year old has just as much understanding of real world issues as a 65 year old. Someone remove this clown from office quickly.
13:09 January 4, 2013 by The-ex-pat
"Parents could take responsibility for overseeing their child's vote or even using on their behalf. "

Democracy at work.............You will vote the way I tell you my Kleiner!!!!
13:14 January 4, 2013 by ichbines
While you are at it, would someone please give voting rights to ADULTS who have resided here, say over 5 years. You can reside here your ENTIRE adult life and never be given the right to vote.

Or...hmmm, perhaps we do not want the opinions of people, ahem... just LIVING here?!
13:26 January 4, 2013 by grazhdanin
After puberty people start to physically and mentally degenerate again. Thus, the right to vote should be given rather to under 18-year olds than to over 18-year olds only.
13:44 January 4, 2013 by Big L
Wow I am relieved to see that not only my country has mentally deranged idiots in politics....
14:28 January 4, 2013 by zeddriver
Wonder what this idiots opinion is on the minimum age for Drinking, Smoking, Driving, Sex. I think we all know what he would say. The kids don't have enough sense nor skill to make an informed decision about Drinking, Smoking, Driving, Sex.

This guy is the poster child for

'Stupid is as stupid does".
15:33 January 4, 2013 by michael4096
Why is it that at 17.99 years you are a child but at 18.00 an adult? Real life isn't like that. As some have said there are many much older that cannot be trusted and, presumably, some younger that can. There are already different ages for sex, dying for your country, drinking etc. surely a more graduated approach to voting is possible.

How about a test like a driving theoretical before anyone can vote?
15:56 January 4, 2013 by ErnestPayne
"Children" already have the vote. Look worldwide at some of the idiots holding elected office. They have to have been elected by "children".
18:13 January 4, 2013 by Englishted
Oh my god next they will want to give it to women .
06:41 January 13, 2013 by Sastry.M
Age of exercising franchise is a human consideration depending upon deciding mental discriminative maturity. But would the present un natural beauty fashioned human society allow children to grow naturally at least from puberty to 18y along with adolescent terminal hairy matrixed formatting on pubis and under axillae, which nature has designed for biological growth of human physique?

Hatred of natural body is instilled at the age of beginning physical and mental maturity and advancing to allow voting at a lower age may not mitigate human ignorance and inculcate discriminative wisdom.
Today's headlines
Amazon 'paying local tax on sales in Germany'
Photo: Uli Deck/dpa

Amazon 'paying local tax on sales in Germany'

According to the Sueddeutsche Zeitung newspaper, online retailer Amazon has started paying tax on profits from its sales to German customers in Germany instead of in Luxembourg READ  

German woman, 65, has quadruplets
Photo: DPA

German woman, 65, has quadruplets

A 65-year-old German woman, who already has 13 children, has given birth to quadruplets after undergoing an artificial insemination procedure in Ukraine. READ  

German WWII remains exhumed in Bosnia
Photo: DPA

German WWII remains exhumed in Bosnia

The remains of about 20 people, thought to be German and Italian soldiers killed in Bosnia during World War II, have been exhumed in the east of the country, officials said Friday. READ  

Sotheby's sells Nazi-era art trove find
Some 1,600 works of art were found behind this door in 2012. Photo: DPA

Sotheby's sells Nazi-era art trove find

A painting by Max Liebermann from a Nazi-era art trove found in Germany last year will go on sale in London next month, the first from the collection to be sold off, Sotheby's said on Friday. READ  

Family's ten-year quest for truth about dead son
Jeremiah Duggan. Photo: Justice for Jeremy

Family's ten-year quest for truth about dead son

The family of a British student killed in Wiesbaden over 12 years ago made a fresh step towards justice on Thursday, after a London coroner disagreed with German authorities' belief that he killed himself. READ  

Property of the week
Property of the Week: May 22nd
Photo: Mr Lodge

Property of the Week: May 22nd

Modern and sophisticated: This week’s property combines classic architecture with chic furnishings to create an elegant and luxurious living experience. READ  

83-year-old gets second drug dealing sentence
The judge said, given his age, he was not the ideal candidate for therapy. Photo:DPA

83-year-old gets second drug dealing sentence

An 83-year-old man was handed a six month suspended sentence on Thursday after being caught carrying seven bags of heroin in Düsseldorf. READ  

Carnival of Cultures in Berlin: six top picks
The dazzling colour of 2014's festival parade. Photo: Karneval der Kulturen

Carnival of Cultures in Berlin: six top picks

This weekend Berlin will be lit up by the vibrancy and colour of the Carnival of Cultures, an annual four-day urban festival that celebrates the diversity of Germany's capital. Here are six things not to miss. READ  

Bayern fans bring club's earliest years to light
FC Bayern's first team in 1925, the year of the commemorative publication. Photo: Jewish Museum

Bayern fans bring club's earliest years to light

For decades the early history of FC Bayern München was forgotten, but FCB fans have re-discovered a book from 1925 documenting the club's founding moments. READ  

Top spy admits: We're 'dependent' on NSA
Gerhard Schindler admitted that the BND had made mistakes in its handling of NSA requests. Photo: DPA

Top spy admits: We're 'dependent' on NSA

The head of the German Intelligence Agency (BND) told a special parliamentary committee on Thursday that his agency is 'dependent on' the American National Security Agency (NSA). READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Travel
Why the train strike is bad for passengers and workers
National
Meet Germany's Eurovision hope
Business & Money
Is 2015 a new moment for jobsharing?
Features
How the LGBT rights movement was born in Germany
National
Why you don't make bomb jokes at the airport
National
Why Germany needs a little less tipple
National
Who Germans and Americans trust... and don't
Politics
What the UK election means for Germany
National
Why Germany is great for mums
Features
The Germans with GI dads
Five ways Germany falls short on gay rights
Travel
Giant tortoise found riding Munich rail
National
FCK CPS? A-OK with court
Politics
Opinion: Brexit's dangers for Germany
Features
Smart kids all want to work for BMW
National
Minister shows off top Denglisch
National
Germany's 'other genocide' in Africa
National
Arms firms get a 'must do better' mark on ethics
Sport
Bayern's anticlimactic 25th Bundesliga win
Politics
A Greek learning politics in Germany
Features
The battle of the "Gates of Berlin"
National
Germany's 'very poor' lobbying record
National
Germany's favourite baby names of 2014
Politics
Merkel's 15 years at the top of German politics
Travel
Lowest of the low: how woman exploited Germanwings crash
Features
Spice up asparagus season with The Local's serving suggestions
Sport
Football and the €30,000 firework
Technology
Why scientists oppose killer robots
National
'Cannibal cop' gets 8 years
National
Which city is Germany's worst for drivers?
Technology
Electrifying 'Ostalgia'
National
Cologne Cathedral returns from space
Pupils mourn lost classmates
National
Freed after 25 years on death row
Shutterstock
Sponsored Article
10 things you didn’t know about Zagreb (and why you should go)
Is your workload 'out of control'? You're not alone...
Sponsored Article
What expat parents should ask before choosing a school
Features
Paddy's Day, Berlin style
National
Why east Germans are happy to get it on on camera
National
Uplifting thoughts to get you through the last week of winter
National
What would you do with a 250-year-old pretzel?
National
Who wants the Olympics more - Hamburg or Berlin?
Features
Just why is the German flag Schwarz, Rot, Gold?
Business & Money
Getting German workers and bosses thinking positive
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

6,693
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd