German MPs demand voting rights for children

More than 40 German deputies on Tuesday proposed that the voting age be lowered to birth to give children a say in the country’s political future, the parliamentary press service said.

German MPs demand voting rights for children
Photo: DPA

“At the moment some 14 million Germans are denied the right to vote, purely because of their age,” the 46 members of parliament said in a discussion document tabled in the legislature.

They proposed that parents be allowed to vote for their offspring, until such time that the children felt they were ready to cast ballots themselves. Markus Loening, a member of the Free Democrats (FDP), had argued in January that the time had come to give more importance to children’s place in society at a time when Germany is concerned about its aging population and low birthrate. The MPs cited “numerous studies” which they said have found that it is in the public interest that children and adolescents be allowed to exercise political rights.

The voting age in Germany was lowered in the 1970s from 21 to 18 years. It is enshrined in the constitution but the deputies said this was “not irrevocable” and did not pose an unsurmountable obstacle to their proposal.