Voting compulsory for 16 and 17-year-olds in Belgium, court rules

 A European Union flag flies outside parliament building, in The Hague, Netherlands, Thursday Nov. 23, 2023.
A European Union flag flies outside parliament building, in The Hague, Netherlands, Thursday Nov. 23, 2023. Copyright Peter Dejong/Copyright 2023 The AP. All rights reserved
Copyright Peter Dejong/Copyright 2023 The AP. All rights reserved
By Euronews
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Teenagers in Belgium must vote in upcoming European elections, the country's constitutional court has ruled - ten days before the deadline to register to vote.

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The Constitutional Court in Belgium has ruled that 17 and 16-year-olds must vote in European elections on 9 June. 

Voting in Belgium is obligatory for adults 18 and older, with failure to do so resulting in a fine. 

Adults who fail to turn up at polling stations at least four times in a 15-year period risk losing their right to vote.

Those under 18 were previously exempt from this obligatory voting requirement, however.

But now the country's court has suspended the provision that only made voting mandatory for adults. 

The ruling means that youngsters can be sanctioned if they fail to turn out.

Alain Hutchinson, Brussels Commissioner for Europe, called the decision "fresh", but criticised that it came just 10 days before the deadline to register in voters' lists.

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