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Government rejects motion to reduce voting age to 16
24 November 2016 @ 08:36

PARLIAMENT has rejected a proposal to lower the voting age to 16, a motion put forward by the Catalunya Left Republicans (ERC).

Backed by the PSOE (socialists), Unidos Podemos and Catalunya-based independents PDECat, the idea was down-voted by the right-wing reigning PP, centre-right Ciudadanos, and the Basque Nationalist Party (PNV), with 173 against and 168 in favour.

MP for ERC Gabriel Rufián says allowing 16- and 17-year-olds to vote in local, regional and national elections would 'increase the level of democracy' Spain enjoys, whilst socialist spokesman Gregorio Cámara says the PSOE has been 'committed for some time' to letting younger adults vote, a move he says is 'consistent', 'fair' and 'possible'.

Although several left-wing parties backed each other over the motion, they could not refrain from criticising each other – Unidos Podemos spokeswoman Carolina Bescansa slammed the 'electoral engineering' of a system that allows the 'Big Two', the PP and PSOE, to take turns running the country.

Spain uses a similar format to the UK, which effectively favours the mainstream and more powerful parties since they need far fewer votes per Parliamentary seat than the minor outfits.

MP Beatriz Escudero, for the PP, says she 'appreciates the interest in winning the elections' on the part of those pushing for lowering the voting age, but says they have 'failed to notice' that the majority of eligible voters who do not bother to cast their ballot are, in fact, the youngest adults.


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