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Wahlrecht ohne Altersgrenze? PDF Print E-mail

Stiftung für die Rechte zukünftiger Generationen (2007) (Eds.):
„Wahlrecht ohne Altersgrenze?"
Verfassungsrechtliche, demokratietheoretische und entwicklungspsychologische Aspekte

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Voting rights without age limits? Considerations of constitutional law, democratic theory and psychological development

About a fifth of the German population - the children and teenagers - are kept out of political decisions. Against the background of the effects of today's level of state indebtedness, as well as the politics surrounding pensions and the environment, the question of whether these “lost voices” can be reactivated gains credibility, whether through voting rights without an age restriction or through voting by proxy. At the moment the interests of those not entitled to vote appear only on the periphery of politician's agendas, if they appear at all.

Changing voting rights is often portrayed as absurd, even though academic and political discussions on this subject have been underway for years. Its highest point to date was reached in 2003, when the German government discussed the motion "Dare for more democracy by implementing voting rights from birth." Even ten years ago no one would have thought this kind of discussion would be possible. Many revolutionary ideas are initially greeted with scornful laughter, then fought against, and only seriously discussed in their third stage. We have reached this third stage. Even if the correct solution is still being debated, experts agree on one main point: it cannot remain the way it has been until now. Denying a considerable part of the population voting rights lacks the stringent justification it requires.

This book is a fascinating collection of top quality articles about a basic question that has been important to every democracy since voting began. An historical outline and international comparisons are also included.  The interdisciplinary debate offers readers a plethora of challenges as well as concrete suggestions about how political participation for children can be realised. The book is not just an encouragement to think, its aim is to spark off socio-political processes, to reach a goal. These should be processes that will develop our democracy, processes that lend children and teenagers more political weight, processes which may eventually lead to more intergenerational justice. There is no comparable book which serves so well as a benchmark in the German market.

 

 

'[The anthology] provides a pluralistic and critical examination of different models of voting rights for children. (…) The complex, interdisciplinary examination offers the reader manifold suggestions as well as precise proposals how to realize political participation of children. (…)
Primarily, a direct voting right for persons younger than 18 years and a voting right by proxy are being discussed. Both possibilities are being commented by supporters as well as by opposers. (…)
In my opinion, scientists as well as interested citizens can benefit from the anthology. (…)
All in all I can only recommend the anthology since it provides a complex and (…) unique abstract of the discussion on the topic voting rights for children on the background of legal, pedagogical and psychological as well as historical developments.'

- Excerpt from an expertise by Dr. Lore Maria Peschel-Gutzeit