A bill that would lower the voting age for municipal elections from 18 to 16 has been submitted to Parliament again. The bill has the support of every party in Parliament except the Centre Party and the People’s Party.
Left-Green MP Andrés Ingi Jónsson leads the bill into Parliament, and told Kjarninn that he believes the bill has a greater chance of passing this time. When it was submitted last March, it was filibustered until the close of the parliamentary session, but as we are now much earlier in the parliamentary year, there is more than enough time for the bill’s passage, Andrés believes.
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, about 9,000 more people would be able to vote. Municipal elections are not constrained solely to citizens, either; immigrants who have been living in Iceland for at least five years also have the right to vote in municipal elections.