Labour youths welcome voting age proposal

The Forum Żgħażagħ Laburisti Maltin yesterday welcomed Labour Party leader Joseph Muscat's proposal to lower the voting age to 16 for the upcoming local council elections, saying it would "create a balance between the rights and responsibilities of youth".

Dr Muscat had originally pitched the idea in his opinion piece published in The Times on Monday, saying it was intended to tap the potential of young people. On Tuesday, the Nationalist Party's Youth Movement (MŻPN) also welcomed the proposal, noting that the organisation's council had discussed a similar proposal earlier this year.

The Labour youth forum said individuals aged 16 were already taking important decisions that would affect their lives, such as whether they wanted to further their education or pay taxes.

Because of this responsibility, they should be given a role in important decisions, such as the election of a local council.

The MŻPN had echoed these views in March, saying that it was unacceptable that 16 and 17-year olds were paying taxes but, at the same time, denied a role in deciding how those taxes should be used.

The Labour forum called for an open debate on the suggestion put forward by Dr Muscat, adding that anyone stonewalling an open discussion was simply conveying the message that Malta's youth have nothing worth offering to society.

The student social democratic organisation Pulse also welcomed Dr Muscat's proposal, saying it wished to urge youths to participate in discussions on this issue as it concerns them directly.

It said that such a proposal augured well for more youths to take interest in politics.


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