The Malta Independent 23 April 2024, Tuesday
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Parliamentary process to allow youths under 18 to be elected mayors to conclude Monday

Saturday, 16 December 2023, 12:58 Last update: about 5 months ago

The Parliamentary process which will see the approval of legal amendments which will make it possible that youths between the age of 16 years and 17 years can be occupy the role of Mayors and Deputy Mayors if elected by the people is expected to be concluded next Monday with the third reading of the relative bill.

This was announced by the Minister for the National Heritage, the Arts and the Local Government Owen Bonnici and Parliamentary Secretariat for Local Government Alison Zerafa Civelli during a collaboration event held in conjunction with the National Youth Council of Malta in an initiative aimed at empowering youth representation in local governance. This joint effort has the role to provide Maltese and Gozitan youths with a platform to discuss, educate, and advocate for civic engagement, youth leadership in local governance, and the importance of the Vote 16. A key highlight of the event was the discussion surrounding the new proposed law, which grants 16 and 17 year-olds the opportunity to serve as mayors, marking a significant milestone in youth participation in local governance.

Minister Bonnici during his speech stated, “Embracing the potential of the younger generation is a progressive step towards inclusive governance. Allowing individuals at the age of 16 to become Mayors not only recognises the intelligence and capability of today’s youth but also fosters a sense of responsibility and civic engagement from an early age. It is a testament to the belief that fresh perspectives and innovative ideas can drive positive change in our communities. Empowering 16-year-olds as Mayors is a bold move towards building a more representative and dynamic future for our localities. Let's celebrate this milestone in our commitment to democracy and youth participation.”

Parliamentary Secretary for Local Government Alison Zerafa Civelli has highlighted that Government has consistently recognised the importance of the opinions and activism of young people in public life for creating a more democratic, inclusive, and vibrant society. Zerafa Civelli emphasised the ongoing commitment to work towards acknowledging and supporting the contributions of young people in society. The goal is to provide them with the necessary support and opportunities to actively participate in shaping the communities where they reside and beyond.

Aligned with KNŻ's ongoing series of events themed ‘Empower Youth Voices’, this conference serves as a crucial component in fostering a culture of activism among the Maltese and Gozitan youth. The objective is to chart the way forward for enhanced youth representation in local governance, with a specific focus on empowering young leaders and promoting civic engagement. The European Youth Forum (YFJ)board member, Rareș Voicu, who was invited to the conference, congratulated Malta on this proactive decision with the emphasis to implement a comprehensive civic-education programme to ensure that when new rights for young people emerge, they are truly within reach for their intended beneficiaries. This decision to amplify youth representation at both local and national levels is expected to set a positive example for other countries, particularly within the European Union.

The National Youth Council of Malta extended ts gratitude to the Ministry for the National Heritage, the Arts and the Local Government for the support in this important initiative. President of KNŻ, Mariah Zammit stated, “Through this law, Malta reflects a commitment to continue nurturing the active participation of young people in shaping the future of our country.”


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