Cabinet favors lowering minimum age for standing as MP

The Lithuanian government is in favor of lowering the minimum age for standing as a candidate in parliamentary elections to 21 years, from 25 currently.

On Wednesday, the Cabinet approved the initiative by Viktorija Cmilyte-Nielsen, the leader of the opposition Liberal Movement, to amend Article 56 of the Constitution. Lithuania’s laws allow a person to run for the European Parliament once he or she turns 21, Justice Minister Elvinas Jankevicius told the Cabinet. Twenty-five years is the highest minimum age for national parliaments in the EU and, besides Lithuania, the age threshold is only in place in Italy, Greece and Cyprus, he noted.

If adopted by the Seimas, the law will take effect on January 1, 2021, meaning that the minimum age will not be lowered for the October 11 parliamentary election. Cmilyte-Nielsen has said that that young people become increasingly involved in politics, but are underrepresented in the parliament. The minimum age of candidacy is currently set at 18 years in 16 EU member states, the Liberal MP noted. A constitutional amendment must be voted on twice by the Seimas, with an interval of at least three months between the votes, and requires a two-thirds majority, or 94 votes, to be adopted.

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