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Culture & Religion

Argentina Gives Teens The Vote

By a vote of 131 to 2, the country's Congress passed a law giving 16- and 17-year-olds the option to participate in elections starting next year.

Article written by guest writer Kecia Lynn

What’s the Latest Development?

More than one million 16- and 17-year-old Argentinians will have the option to vote starting with next year’s midterm elections, thanks to a bill that was recently made into law. After a long and difficult session, during which most of the opposition walked out, the country’s Congress approved the law by a vote of 131 to 2. The decision was hailed by Agustin Rossi, the head of the governing bloc in the Chamber of Deputies: “It is a very important initiative because it expands the frontier of rights.”

What’s the Big Idea?

Argentina is only the latest country in the Western Hemisphere to give the vote to youth, following in the footsteps of Nicaragua, Brazil and Ecuador. Both supporters and critics of President Cristina Fernandez believe this law will help give her and her party a leg up in next year’s elections, and possibly hand her enough leverage to attempt a third term. “[She] has a majority in both houses of Congress but would need the support of two-thirds of legislators to change the constitution.”

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