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Italian Senate endorses lowering voting age from 25 to 18

ROME (AP) — The Italian Senate on Thursday approved lowering the age voters must reach before they are eligible to elect senators from 25 to 18.

Voters who are 18 or older can already cast ballots in national elections for the lower house of Italy’s Parliament, the Chamber of Deputies. The Senate’s consent paves the way for some 4 million young adults to get the right to vote for the upper legislative chamber as well.

If a sufficient number of lawmakers in each chamber requests it within the next three months, a nationwide constitutional referendum would need to be held to confirm the new voting age. The proposed change garnered less than a two-thirds majority required for its passage in the Chamber of Deputies.

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Lowering the voting age for the Senate “favors the participation of the new generations in political life,” said Federico D’Inca, the government minister for Parliament relations and a member of Italy’s populist 5-Star Movement.

The 5-Stars currently hold the most seats in the Italian legislature and are a partner in Premier Mario Draghi’s wide-ranging coalition government.

Italy’s next election is scheduled for 2023.