The Czech president casts his ballot for lowering the voting age

Petr Pavel told a group of students yesterday that young people are often more informed on issues than the older generation. Staff ČTK

Written by StaffČTK Published on 29.03.2023 10:28:00 (updated on 29.03.2023) Reading time: 2 minutes

President Petr Pavel says he would support lowering the minimum age for voters in Czechia from the current 18 to 16 years.

Pavel made his comments about the voting age in reaction to a student's question during a debate at a grammar school in Frýdek-Místek during the newly sworn-in president's two-day visit to the Moravia-Silesia region.

Over the past four years, Pavel said that during his participation in debates with secondary-school students across the Czech Republic, these meetings young people had sufficient knowledge of the developments in the country.

Their knowledge was "often deeper than the generation of their parents, who have sometimes lost hope and given it up when it comes to public affairs for various reasons," Pavel said.

He added that 16-year-old voters would not pose a threat to the Czech electoral system, "on the contrary."

Voting age is already lower than 18 in some countries

Lowering the voting age to 16 is a topic being addressed in some other countries as well. In Germany, members of Bundestag decided that people aged 16 and over will be able to vote for the European Parliament. Residents of Nicaragua, Brazil, and Austria have the active right to vote from the age of 16. Residents of Malta, and Estonia can vote in municipal elections at the age of 16.

Supporters of the idea say lowering the voting age would lead to higher voter turnout. Opponents argue that the ages of majority, legal responsibility, and the right to vote cannot be separated from each other.

Pavel overwhelmingly popular with young voters

The idea is not new. In Czechia, representatives of STAN and the Green Party began talks on lowering the age threshold for municipal elections years ago.

"This is how it is in some countries, so we don't have to invent anything specifically Czech, we can be inspired," added Pavel.

Pavel was elected president in the second round of elections at the end of January and took office on March 9. Prior to his election, the People in Need organization through its One World At Schools program polled secondary school students on whom they would vote for. He won by 85.72 percent, with 89.7 percent of high school (gymnázium) students, 83.2 percent in technical schools, and 66.7 percent in vocational schools.

Should the voting age be lowered to 16 in Czechia?

Yes 58 %
No 42 %
71 readers voted on this poll. Voting is closed
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