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Germany: The Child Protection Association and the Children's Welfare Organization want the right to vote from the age of 14

The Child Protection Association and the Children's Welfare Organization are calling for the introduction of voting rights for children over the age of 14.

Berlin - "A change in voting rights and a lowering of the voting age limit are urgently needed," said the President of the German Child Protection Association, Heinz Hilgers, to the Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung (NOZ). "It's a question of respect for children and young people. The interests of children are neglected in politics - the corona pandemic has only just shown that."

A lower voting age also helps to strengthen democracy in Germany. The President of the German Children's Fund, Thomas Krüger, also advocates a voting age of 14 years. He told the NOZ: "The German Children's Fund is in favor of lowering the voting age at all levels, that is, from the European to the local elections, initially to 16 years and in a second step to 14 years."

According to Krüger this measure is "more than overdue". He said: "Children and young people follow political processes closely, have their own interests and are able to form an opinion on political issues." The traffic light coalition wants to lower the voting age from the current 18 to 16 at the national level.

There is a broad majority in favor of this in the Bundestag. However, the project could fail because of the Bundesrat and the CDU-governed states. In some federal states, the right to vote from the age of 16 already applies to state elections. Child Protection President Hilgers can even imagine children below the age of 14 taking part in the elections.

To put this into practice, he suggests that children have to put their names on a voter list: "If you can do it by the age of eight or nine, you can also vote," Hilgers said. On the other hand, the child protection representatives reject a family right to vote, in which the vote is assigned to the parents depending on the number of children or they cast the vote. Child Protection Association President Hilgers said: "Everyone has the right to vote personally." The president of the children's charity Krüger also emphasized: "The right to vote is neither external nor can it be dispensed with or assigned, it does not tolerate representation: It is a highly personal right."

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