Elections 2024: 16 and 17-year-olds will be required to vote in European elections

Sixteen and 17-year-olds will be required to vote in the European elections in June, the Belgian Constitutional Court said in a judgment on Thursday. According to the court, the distinction between minors and adults is not justified.

Initially, 16 and 17-year-olds were allowed to participate voluntarily for the first time in the upcoming European elections, while adults are obliged to vote. A Belgian citizen went to the Constitutional Court to denounce this difference.

The court rules that the difference in treatment between minors and adults is not justified by compelling reasons of public interest.

It also held that "the harm that would result from elections organised on an unconstitutional basis is necessarily serious, since it would be an attack on the substance of the right to elect and to be elected, which is essential to the very existence of a representative democracy".

Young people may now be sanctioned if they do not vote.


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