UPDATE: PN and Marlene Farrugia present motion for 16-year-olds to vote in general elections

The Nationalist Party and Independent MP Marlene Farrugia have presented a motion to the Clerk of the House in which they are requesting an immediate amendment to the Constitution so that 16-year-olds can vote in the general election.

MP David Agius said it was the Nationalist Party which truly believed in and had faith in youths, so much so that it wanted to give them the right to vote in the next general election. Agius said the argument of the Labour Party in government that it would consider carrying out a study about the possibility of voting at age 16 as it did not have an electoral mandate for this right, was just an excuse. David Agius said there were other matters which the Labour Party did not have a mandate to carry out, like the citizenship scheme, but they were still carried out.

Independent MP Marlene Farrugia said she had been elected on the manifest of the Labour Movement, which had promised youths that they would be able to vote in Local Council elections, and this had materialised. She added that the time had now come that youths at this age be given the power to decide their future, not only at local level but also at National level. She urged that the discussion in Parliament on this issue be carried out without delay.

Asked by Television Malta whether the vote at 16 also meant that youths at this age could present themselves as candidates for the general election, David Agius said this matter would require discussion between the political parties. Asked whether any effort had been made for the motion to be a joint one between the three parties in Parliament, David Agius said there was nothing holding Government from joining the Opposition on this motion, but he did not feel Government had the will to carry out this change as, he said, the Committee on this matter, with representatives from all parties, had not met since March. Marlene Farrugia invited Government to support the motion so that the House of Representatives would be united in giving Maltese youths a vote of confidence.

“A pity the Opposition wants to politicise an issue on which there is agreement” – Labour Party

In a reaction the Labour Party said it was a pity the Opposition wanted to politicise an issue on which there was agreement. It reminded that the Prime Minister had spoken about this in April last year, after this Government had given youths the right to vote at this age in Local Council elections, in what it had referred to as a first step. The Labour Party said this Government and this Party firmly believed in youths, not just by giving them the right to vote but also through guarantees of work.