Looking to Seal the Election for Herself Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner Gives 16 Year Olds Voting Rights
Does Obama know about this?
Argentine lawmakers approved a bill lowering the country’s voting age, a move that could rally youth support as President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner tries to revert a slide in her popularity ahead of congressional elections next year.
The lower house approved the bill in a 131-to-2 vote yesterday, converting Argentina into one of only a handful of nations where 16-year-olds can vote. The government-backed bill, which passed the Senate in early October, allows young people to cast ballots two years before voting becomes mandatory at age 18.
Fernandez has courted young voters since being elected in 2007, naming members of the government-aligned “La Campora” youth group to top positions and tapping funds from the social security agency to provide students with free laptops. Expanding the suffrage may help build support for the government even further as the opposition tries to capitalize on growing frustration with Fernandez’s handling of the economy, political analyst Carlos Fara said.
“The government believes that the more politically active young people will vote for the ruling party,” said Fara, who runs Carlos Fara & Asociados in Buenos Aires.
Some of Fernandez’s youth supporters have been calling for a change in the constitution to allow Fernandez to seek a third term in 2015, carrying banners that read “Cristina Forever” at recent rallies. While Fernandez hasn’t said whether she backs such a move, her ruling Victory Front coalition would need to add seats in the mid-term elections to reach a two-thirds majority needed to change the nation’s charter.
“The 2013 elections are very important to install the possibility of changing the law to allow Fernandez to run again,” Fara said.