A bill in Parliament that would lower the voting age for municipal elections from 18 to 16 is in the final stretch towards approval.
The bill in question has received broad multipartisan support, and will soon be submitted to the Constitutional and Supervisory Committee for additional editing. After that, it will go back to the floor of Parliament for a final vote.
RÚV reports that parties across the ruling coalition and the opposition have expressed support for the measure, with the exception of the People’s Party. Party chairperson Inga Sæland argued that children should be protected from political messages until they are 18, adding, “Leave the kids alone!”
However, as the language of the bill points out, Iceland’s young people are already quite politically aware and active. Almost every political party has a youth wing, for example, and numerous young people have taken part in or even initiated such movements as Free The Nipple.
Moreover, 16 as a proper age to vote in municipal elections is a common fact across Europe. Iceland, by contrast, last lowered its voting age in 1984, from 20 to 18.
If passed, this law would go into effect immediately. As such, the voting registry for municipal elections this May will become significantly larger, if this bill is made into law.