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Bremen's 16-year-olds vote in state election

The Local · 22 May 2011, 10:20

Published: 22 May 2011 10:20 GMT+02:00

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Voters have to be 18 and over to vote in all other 15 German states and in federal elections. Those aged 16 and over are, however, allowed to vote in municipal

elections in seven states.

The election result in Bremen, the smallest of Germany's states, is expected to return the ruling coalition of Social Democrats (SPD) and Greens to power, while Angela Merkel's conservative Christian Democrats are expected to be relegated to third place, according to opinion polls.

But the news could get worse for Merkel. Opinion polls predicted that the Chancellor's allies in the federal government, the pro-business Free Democrats (FDP), may even lose all their seats in the regional assembly.

Initial exit poll results are expected in the early evening.

Story continues below…


The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

12:49 May 22, 2011 by FIUMAN
I am all for democracy but I have reservations about this. The point where all individuals who will have adult brains is 18. Some may have the capacity to function as adults prior to that age but there are certainly some who do not. As well, allowing the vote to persons with incomplete educations is, well, stupid. This is not even to mention the issue of maturity of experiences to be able to make adult rational decisions.
13:06 May 22, 2011 by iseedaftpeople

"As well, allowing the vote to persons with incomplete educations is, well, stupid. This is not even to mention the issue of maturity of experiences to be able to make adult rational decisions."

But these days, particularly in Germany, your education often isn't formally complete until your mid-20s, in some cases even later than that. So are you saying they should move the voting age up to 25?

Also, the maturity concern is nonsense. There are many people out there who not even by their late 30s have the faintest idea about politics and are able to make an informed voting decision. And I just read that even mentally disabled persons, according to UN statutes, are seen as having an inalienable right to vote. What makes all them so much better than politically conscious youths, few as they may be?

The way I see it, 16 and 17 year olds who don't care about politics will simply abstain, while politically aware teenagers will seize this opportunity. And it could be a refreshing change, because it could mean that politicians will actually start doing politics for young people, instead of always just patronizingly deciding over their heads.

I think it's a step in the right direction, and we should try to overcome any kind of false prejudice and ageism against young people. Most teenagers, the ones I have met in recent years anyway, are much more mature than they are given credit for.
13:10 May 22, 2011 by wood artist
Based upon my experience, admittedly within the US, when I was that age I was more aware than most adults. We were learning about the structures of governance in class, and often had local politicians as guests in the classroom. On the other hand, a lot of adult had no clue...and sadly, still don't. I'm not sure age is all that important, although younger voters are more likely to have different views.

As an aside, I keep looking at that picture and thinking it's a class for future football referees, practicing...well, it's obvious what they're practicing.

17:49 May 22, 2011 by ilyushenko
Right-wingers hate the idea of young people voting as they are less likely to be entrenched in greedy and selfish conservatism than their older counterparts. Conservatives want to have it both ways - Live off the sweat and taxes of the younger generations, but still call the shots over who runs the country.
18:58 May 22, 2011 by Abbot
If they are mature enough to vote, then they are mature enough to face the law as adults if they break it.
01:48 May 25, 2011 by Gretl
And the process of impeachment was speeded up with the adoption of the familiar "red card".
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