A Bill to lower the voting age for local council elections to 16 was approved in first reading in the House of Representatives this evening.

It was presented by Parliamentary Secretary Jose' Herrera and seconded by David Agius, the shadow minister for local councils.

Dr Herrera said this was a historic milestone which was being reached on the 20th anniversary of the founding of the councils. 

Today's event started with a discussion in the Tapestry Chamber - the former Parliament chamber - presided by Speaker Anglu Farrugia. Taking part were Dr Herrera, Mr Agius, MPs, mayors and young people from most councils called 'ambassadors' of the councils. 

They then moved to the Chamber of Parliament to follow the moving of the Bill for First Reading.  

Dr Herrera said Malta would be only the second EU country to grant local council voting rights to 16-year-olds.  This, he said, was a signal of confidence in the councils. He urged young people to participate in the life of their communities.

Speaker Anglu Farrugia said it was significant that the discussion on this decision was being held in the same Chamber where important decisions had been taken on Malta's Constitution, Independence and the declaration of the Republic

Mr Agius urged young people to make use of the opportunity given to them and to vote in local council elections.  

The 16-year-olds will be able to vote for the first time in the elections of 2015.  



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