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New Zealand Supreme Court rules in favor of lowering voting age to 16

MADRID, 21 Nov.

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New Zealand Supreme Court rules in favor of lowering voting age to 16


The New Zealand High Court has accepted an appeal to lower the voting age to 16, arguing that the rule preventing 16 and 17 year olds from voting is age discriminatory.

The decision establishes that setting the minimum voting age at 18 years has not been justified as a reasonable limit to the right to vote of the people.

The 'Make It 16' group argued that the voting age of 18 is a violation of Human Rights, in such a way that their intention is to force Parliament to submit the issue to a special debate.

With this Monday's sentence, the judges, Ellen France and O'Regan, have ruled that a previous decision of the Court of Appeals that rejected the case of 'Make It 16' should be annulled.

The initiative's co-director, Caeden Tipler, has described the Supreme Court's pronouncement as a "historic" fact, indicating that they are confident that the law will change.

"There is a formal process for Parliament to review the declaration of inconsistency and we are very optimistic that once Parliament reviews the decision, (lawmakers) will see that lowering the voting age is the right thing to do," Tipler said.

"Although we are celebrating, we still have much more to do," the activist acknowledged in statements collected by the 'NZ Herald' newspaper.

The New Zealand Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, has declared that the Supreme Court ruling on Monday does not mean that Parliament is obliged to change the law.

"The Cabinet has discussed the post-sentence process and has decided to draft a law for Parliament to consider lowering the voting age to 16," Ardern explained, before acknowledging that such a law would not be in force for the next elections.

For her part, the Prime Minister has personally supported the age reduction, but has qualified that a consensus of 75 percent of the Lower House is needed. "I think that we should eliminate the policy, we should let each parliamentarian express their opinion on it," she has maintained.

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