The Malta Independent 11 December 2017, Monday

Vote 16 white paper out by March 2018, to open up elections for another 5,000 votes

Gabriel Schembri Thursday, 7 December 2017, 12:42 Last update: about 3 days ago

The government will be presenting the white paper on Vote 16 by March of next year paving the way for a potential 5,000 new voters to have their say in upcoming elections.

Prime Minister Joseph Muscat announced this while attending a student debate at the Giovanni Curmi Higher Secondary in Naxxar. The topic was Vote 16 and students were allowed to ask questions to the Prime Minister who was accompanied by Parliamentary Secretary for Reform Julia Farrugia Portelli and the Parliamentary Secretary for Youth Clifton Grima.

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The Prime Minister said that the vote for 16-year-olds is no longer an issue of whether it will happen or not, but how will it be implemented. "We have a mandate to do pass Vote 16 and we intend to keep our promise."

Muscat said that he hopes that the 2019 MEP elections will see the participation of 16-year-old voters. Malta will be the second EU country to have the participation of new young voters. The participation of 16-year-old voters will result in an increase of 5,000 votes. "You will be making history", Muscat told those students present.

Muscat encouraged students to involve themselves in politics and to keep themselves updated on what is happening around the globe. He said that often, young people tend to discourage themselves from participating in politics because of all the hate towards persons who are politically exposed.

KNŻ welcomes recent news on Vote 16

The National Youth Council has been at the forefront campaigning for voting rights to be extended to 16 and 17 year olds. KNŻ welcomes the news that the Prime Minister intends to pass a law which would see these rights extended by March next year thus giving youth the opportunity to vote in the upcoming MEP elections. Following that, they will also have the opportunity to vote in the General Election. 

In the past, our member organisations, the youth wings of all political parties and political student organisations have come together with the Council in order to campaign for Vote 16.

KNŻ renews it call that this right should come together with compulsory civic education.

SDM reacts

Today's announcement that 16 and 17-year-olds will be allowed to vote in the 2019 European parliamentary elections in Malta is a very positive step forward for Maltese youth. Following this, 16 and 17-year-olds will also be given the right to vote in the following general election, once Parliament approves the bill.

As a political student organisation, we greet this news with great satisfaction, having supported this idea for the past couple of years. We believe that this will serve to empower the Maltese Youths and shift more importance on youth-related proposals, thus improving their quality of life. In addition to this, we think that youth involvement will lead to a more active and healthier society, giving youths a more recognised platform where they can champion for what they feel is right.

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