Reduced Berlin voting age to 16 –

In Berlin, a 16-year-old will have a say in state elections.

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Berlin House of Representatives Plenary Hall

So far, voting at the age of 16 is only possible in the district council elections of the district council. The SPD, the Greens, and the left-party Berlin coalition are backed by opposition liberal FDPs this year in their decision to reduce the voting age accordingly. It was announced Thursday (April 21, 2022) by SPD faction leader Raed Saleh and FDP faction leader Sebastian Czaja.

Opposition FDP supports SPD, Greens, Left Party planning

The constitutional amendment requires two-thirds of the majority of the legislature, and the SPD, Greens, and Left ruling parties do not exist alone, so they need the support of the opposition. The FDP parliamentary group supports plans to accelerate reforms, Czaja said. “We believe this is a sign of social progress and a matter of generational justice,” explained an FDP politician.

Law passed this year

Saleh, leader of the SPD state and parliamentary group, said he strongly supports lowering the voting age of state elections to 16 because young people deserve a say. He explained that this regulation has already been applied to five other German states, including Hamburg, Baden-Württemberg, and the neighboring Brandenburg. “It’s time for Berlin,” Saleh said. “This year we can pass a law applicable to the 2026 parliamentary elections. I personally believe that many young Berliners will take advantage of this new right.” He said the young man was 16 years old. He added that his experience in the German state, which is allowed to vote in, also shows this.

The consequences of political decisions especially affect young people

FDP politician Czaja also believed that it would be feasible to implement the project by the end of the year, noting that the outcome of the political decision would also affect young people who were not previously allowed to vote. .. Given the current major challenges such as the pandemic and the Ukrainian War, the question of who will be responsible for all of this burden in the future will arise, Chaja said. “That’s exactly this young generation.”

Green parliamentary group defends voting rights from 16

Zirke Gabel, Parliamentary Group Leader of the Greens, welcomed the plan. “The Greens have always claimed that young people have a strong political voice,” she told Deutsche Presse. “Of course, the 16-year-old is a responsible citizen and has the right to help shape things, so it’s clear that we must reduce our active voting rights.”

Left is happy to work with the FDP

Hendrikje Klein, a member of the leftist parliamentary group responsible for civic participation, said he was pleased that Berlin’s FDP was also participating. “With the coalition, we have amended the Constitution of Berlin to reduce the voting age of Berlin’s parliamentary elections from 18 to 16 years,” Klein said. Should be.

Youth organizations welcome the decision

Berlin’s SPD and Greens’ youth organization also said in favor of the reform. Mary Daher, a spokeswoman for Green Youth Berlin, said lowering the voting age to 16 would allow young people to get involved in political issues at an earlier age. Sinem Tasan-Funke, Chairman of the State of Jusos, emphasizes: “”

SPD Parliamentary Group Leader advocates lower voting age at federal level

That’s what SPD’s parliamentary group leader, Raid Surrey, sees. “We hope that a federal coalition will take similar steps in federal elections, but it’s up to others to decide,” he said. At the state level, he sees development as a whole. “Being able to vote at the age of 16 is right and zeitgeist. Ultimately, I’m confident that all other states will follow suit.”

Saleh appeals to CDU

Saleh once again sought the support of Christian Democrats, who had previously rejected the idea of ​​lowering the voting age. “I especially invite the CDU. The wider the alliance, the better,” Saleh said. A spokesman for the CDU parliamentary group said there were plans to discuss the issue at their next party meeting on Thursday. It is quite possible that Christian Democrats will tackle this issue. A significant number of CDU members have joined the state legislature.

Laws can be amended without the consent of the CDU

In the last election period, a majority of two-thirds of the House of Representatives could not foresee the issue of lowering the voting age. But after the September election, reforms are possible. 98 out of 147 members will have to agree. The SPD, Greens and Left have 92 seats in Parliament and the FDP has 12 members. This means that there are already 104 members in favor of the reform, without the cooperation of the CDU.

Author: dpa /

Date of issue: April 22, 2022

Last updated: April 22, 2022

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