(Dec. 31:) Proposed Amendments Art. II re: Age

By Christer Lundquist

Home Forums 04. Article II – Organization of the Legislative Branch (Dec. 31:) Proposed Amendments Art. II re: Age

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    AvatarChrister Lundquist

    With reference to the Board’s adjusted timetable, Leo’s progress report dated Dec. 20, I hereby make the following proposal for amendment of Article II.
    (I will address the Board’s concern with a perceived contradiction/problem/ ‘gap to bridge’ between my amendment and the “heavy demands on competence and suitability of delegates” in a separate topic.)


    SECTION 2.3: REPLACE “(…) are eligible those who have reached the age of twenty-five years (…)” WITH “ARE ELIGIBLE THOSE WHO HAVE REACHED THE AGE OF 18 ON JUNE 1 OF THE ELECTION YEAR”
    Section 2.6: REPLACE “(…) belongs to anybody who has reached the age of eighteen years (…) WITH “BELONGS TO ANYBODY WHO REACHES THE AGE OF EIGHTEEN IN THE MONTH OF MAY OF THE ELECTION YEAR”

    SECTION 3.2: REPLACE “(…) are eligible as delegate those who have reached the age of thirty years (…) WITH “ARE ELIGIBLE AS DELEGATE THOSE WHO REACHES THE AGE OF TWENTY-FIVE IN THE YEAR OF TAKING OFFICE (…)

    – The initial age limits of 25 (H. of Citizens) and 30 (H. of States) are provocatively exclusive, seem arbitrary and are not explained properly anywhere.
    – This is a very important matter of principle: 18 is the age at which you become an adult Citizen with all rights and responsibilities, including the ultimate sacrifice; being drafted to fight and die in a war to defend Europe and our democracies.
    – Age alone is no scientific indicator of competence and suitability for office. Although the International Public Human Rights Law allows for restricting candidates on the basis of age, the interpretation of the International Covenant for Civil and Political Rights offered by the UN Human Rights Committee states that any restrictions should be based on “objective and reasonable criteria”. I see no objective or reasonable reason to deviate from what has become the normative eligibility age in most developed, mature Western democracies.
    – 18 is the limit for candidates in national elections in most EU(+UK) countries: 16, all of them developed, West European democracies. 12 countries, mostly Eastern Europe’s young democracies (with Italy as an outlier), differ: 7 countries = 20-21, 1 = 23, and 4 = 25+.
    – The same goes for candidates in European elections: 15 countries = 18 years. 10 have 21 years, 1 = 23 and 2 = 25, altogether 13 countries, mostly younger democracies.
    – For several decades, the broad trend in developed Western democracies in the world has been to lower the age limit to the current prevailing standard of 18, especially in the lower houses of parliaments and in unicameral ones. (One obvious reason for this is continuous improvement in education levels of their populations.)
    – This fact does has not resulted in many 18/19-year-olds in parliaments, but 25 is far too high and there are many examples of luminary politicians aged 23-24-25. Again: It is the matter of principle.
    – I think barring anyone under 25 would be a big mistake, one that can and probably will draw counterproductive criticism for age discrimination. It will disenfranchise young voters and bar them from electing peers that might be equally qualified, competent and great talents/future leaders as older candidates.
    – We would exclude a considerable percentage of Europe’s citizens, citizens that one can argue have the highest stakes and interest in the best possible long term policies for future custodianship of the planet. This has the potential to derail the debate and create resentment towards our finished Constitution proposal. Unnecessarily.
    – Last, but not least: The 25 limit is made superfluous by the unique qualification requirements laid down in Appendix IIA.
    (Regarding the House of States, I see that experience from parliamentary office etc. is reasonable, therefore I propose a compromise of 25 instead of 30).


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