Clément Beaune wants to “put the idea in the debate” on the vote from 16 years old, the opposition mocks “hypocrisy”

He is there “Rather favorable”, but on condition that it is not “A gadget”. The Secretary of State for European Affairs, Clément Beaune, defends the extension of the right to vote to the youngest, from 16 years old, Wednesday 13 October in an interview with L’Opinion. For him, “This theme must obviously be one of the major subjects of the political debate”. “We need to put this idea into the presidential debate. No track should be overlooked ”, assures this close to the Head of State, insisting on the fact that “The involvement of young people is a challenge for all European countries”.

Noting that 87% of 18-24 year olds abstained in June in the first round of regional and departmental elections, Mr. Beaune believes that “First to mobilize 18-25 year olds who already have the right to vote”, before insisting on the fact that it is then necessary “To extend this right” car “Our democracies cannot afford the luxury of neglecting a lead”. For this, the Secretary of State pleads for lowering the voting age “For all elections”, not only “For local elections only”.

Read our survey: Far from elections, youth in search of new forms of engagement

“As long as you think the spirits are ripe, formed, I don’t see why you would discriminate according to the level. Young people aged 16 or 17 are already interested in public life through associations, through climate marches. Why not to civic life? “

Believing that he “There is no miracle measure” and what can we think “Solve the problem of young people’s interest in politics by lowering the voting age” would be ” A facility “, Mr. Beaune still wants “Open the debate” more broadly and reflect “The terms of voting in general”.

Without naming them, the Secretary of State for European Affairs tackles the candidate of the National Assembly for the presidential election, Marine Le Pen, and the far-right polemicist Eric Zemmour, who has not yet declared himself. “Today, we are locked in a debate on the French decline which is not really the theme of hope for young people. We should not get locked into the question of what Napoleon or de Gaulle would have done ”, he notes.

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Government and majority “not credible”

At Europe Ecologie-Les Verts (EELV) or La France insoumise (LFI), many are delighted at the idea of ​​granting the vote from the age of 16 – a proposal that can be found in the programs of their respective candidate, Yannick Jadot and Jean-Luc Mélenchon -, while mocking ” hypocrisy “ of the time frame chosen to bring this subject to the forefront, less than six months before the presidential election. Like the coordinator of the LFI program for the 2022 election, Clémence Guetté, who reports to the World “The political expediency and the irony of highlighting this subject which they have swept aside for more than four years”.

Whether on “Proportional, blank vote or the minimum age to vote”, the government like the majority “Are not credible”, denounces Maine-et-Loire environmental MP Matthieu Orphelin, ex-La République en marche (LRM), who is worried about a “Sick democracy”. With her colleague, the independent deputy for the second constituency of the French living abroad, Paula Forteza, also ex-LRM, they had supported a bill in October 2020 advocating the vote from 16 years and automatic registration on the lists election. An initiative that was rejected by the majority, Jean Castex believing that young people over 18 do not use their right to vote sufficiently.

Read the op-ed: Vincent Tiberj: behind the abstention, a “generational bias”, a “protest action” and a “political divide”

A few days before the 2019 European elections, Emmanuel Macron said “Ready to move forward” on the right to vote from 16 years old, while being interviewed by the young youtubeur Hugo Travers. He had nevertheless conditioned this development on the fact that the 18-25 year-olds go “Saturate all the vote counters in European, municipal, regional, departmental”. ” Blackmail “, tance Mme Watched out. “They take the problem backwards. Before asking young people for confidence, we must trust them by empowering them as full citizens ”, answer the World Mme Forteza.

A citizen consultation in October

This position taken by Mr. Beaune comes as Mr. Orphelin presented, Wednesday, October 13, a study on the record abstention of young people in regional and departmental elections. In the 250 interviews that the elected official and his team conducted with young people aged 18 to 35, completed by 250 online questionnaires, the “Disinterest” (34%) for the ballot and the “No or incorrect voter registration” (29%) are the first causes put forward by respondents to explain the fact that they did not come to vote in the regional elections in June. Follow a “Impediment” (17% of respondents), a ” lack of information “ (17%) or the “Distrust” towards politicians (16%).

A parliamentary mission was also launched to the National Assembly in June, led by Xavier Breton (Les Républicains, LR) and Stéphane Travert (LRM), on the initiative of its president, Richard Ferrand (LRM). Friday 1is October, the Assembly also announced the launch of a citizen consultation on the reasons for the abstention. This will take place until October 30 on the website of the National Assembly and its results will be made public. While the observation is shared by all parties, solutions now need to be found to this strong abstention among young people, six months from the presidential election and eight months from the legislative elections.

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