Thanks to a decision with 90 votes in favour, 99 votes against and 3 abstentions, the State Policy Commission can now draft a bill to lower the voting age to 16. As soon as this has been drafted, the consultation process will be opened so that organisations such as the SNYC and Pro Juventute can comment on it. The draft law will then be debated in the National Council and the Council of States before it is finally submitted to the people.
The SNYC and Pro Juventute are convinced that today's decision will strengthen young people in their citoyenneté and encourage them to actively shape their environment and their future. Furthermore, this was already a demand of the Youth Session 2007: "After 15 years, we are finally one step further - let's fight for the voting age of 16!", says Benjamin Klaus, Co-President of the Youth Session Forum.
The National Council's decision is historic: in 1991, the voting age was lowered to 18, but since 2000, all attempts to lower it to 16 at the national level have failed. The voting age of 16 is a concern that has cross-party support. The parliamentary initiative was signed by members of parliament from the SP, the Greens, the Centre, the EPP, the GLP and the FDP at the end of March 2019. In addition, numerous organisations also support it, as shown by the latest appeal by the SNYC, Pro Juventute, the PBS, the CEVI and Jubla, which was also co-signed by the Children's Rights Network Switzerland, Alliance Enfance, Child Protection Switzerland, Frisbee, the Glaj-VD and the DOJ.
Participation of young people
The SNYC is committed to youth participation in political life. Although youth participation can take various forms, lowering the voting age to 16 allows youth to participate in institutional politics. The SNYC is also committed to ensuring that youth engage with the rules of institutional politics, take responsibility, feel taken seriously and become fully active members of the society in which they live. The SNYC considers it extremely important to involve young people in the political process at an early stage. The SNYC is convinced that everything possible must be done to enable young people to become responsible citizens and to shape their environment and future.
An effective instrument
The SNYC and Pro Juventute hope that the members of the National Council will consider the positive effect that the voting age of 16 has on our democracy and the importance of enabling young people to participate in institutional politics during their debate. The introduction of the voting age of 16 is an important instrument to allow the young generation to actively participate in the development of society and to motivate them to take political responsibility.