Big breakthrough for AUF: – This feels historic

The Labor Party has adopted the right to vote for 16-year-olds in local elections. The leader of AUF, Astrid Willa Eide Hoem, is pleased with the breakthrough.

– It has been important for AUF for many years. We have fought for this in several rounds. So it is clear that this feels historic. It feels great, she says to TV 2.

CHEERS: Astrid Willa Eide Hoem is very pleased that the Labor Party stands behind AUF.  Photo: Jonas Been Henriksen / TV 2

CHEERS: Astrid Willa Eide Hoem is very pleased that the Labor Party stands behind AUF. Photo: Jonas Been Henriksen / TV 2

Following a representative proposal from the Liberal Party, the Storting will now decide whether 16-year-olds should be able to vote in municipal and county council elections.

The Storting is currently considering the electoral system and will this spring take a position on a number of constitutional proposals on the electoral system.

After several pilot projects around different municipalities in the country, it is now one step closer to becoming a reality.

– I think you have seen the positive results from it. And not least when we see that democracies around the world are threatened, we also need a strong democratic preparedness, she says.

Furthermore, the AUF leader points out that it is important to get young people involved early in politics and the society around them.

Should be of legal age

The leader of Unge Høyre, Ola Svenneby, on the other hand, believes that it is natural to keep the limit at 18 years. He says the voting age should be the same as the age of majority.

– You should be able to decide over your own life before you decide over others, and in Norway the age of majority is 18 years, says Svenneby.

AGE: Ola Svenneby, leader of Unge Høyre, thinks you should not get a vote until you are of age.  Photo: Petter Sørum -Johansen / TV 2

AGE: Ola Svenneby, leader of Unge Høyre, thinks you should not get a vote until you are of age. Photo: Petter Sørum -Johansen / TV 2

Svenneby points out that the Labor Party has not wanted free school choice for 16-year-olds. He believes it is a good example of important decisions where you are not allowed to decide for yourself, until you are of age.

– Somewhere you have to set the limit. I think it is a bit demanding that you can not take out a loan when you are 16, but you can vote for the municipality, and the rest of the inhabitants, can get more loans, he adds.

Nils T. Bjørke, parliamentary representative for Sp, supports the leader of Unge Høyre.

– You should not have the right to vote until you can stand for election, he says to TV 2.

Bjørke adds that they have not seen increased turnout in the municipalities where they have tried 16-year voting rights, and believes there are other ways to increase support.

– The best way is not to give them the right to vote, but to motivate them to political work and efforts, says Bjørke.

– Historical opportunity

Deputy chair of the Control and Constitution Committee, Lubna Jaffery (Labor Party), welcomes the decision.

Lubna Jaffery in the Labor Party and Astrid Willa Eide Hoem support the Liberal Party's proposal.  Photo: Petter Sørum -Johansen / TV 2

Lubna Jaffery in the Labor Party and Astrid Willa Eide Hoem support the Liberal Party’s proposal. Photo: Petter Sørum -Johansen / TV 2

– Now we are in the breeze for an expansion of democracy and want 16- and 17-year-olds to vote in municipal and county elections, Jaffery says.

The discussion has taken place in the Labor Party for many years. This will now be taken further in connection with a possible new election law and a potential constitutional proposal.

– Shouldn’t one be of legal age to be able to vote?

– You are old enough to decide over your own sexual life and are over the criminal minimum age, she points out.

Storting representative, Grunde Almeland in the Liberal Party, believes it is important that several parties in the Storting now support their proposal. He says this is a historic opportunity not to be missed.

– 16- and 17-year-olds are told by society at large that they must take responsibility for their actions. Then we also believe that they should be able to participate in democracy, so that they are paralyzed, he says to TV 2.

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