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Age of candidacy is the minimum age at which a person can legally qualify to hold certain elected government offices. In many cases, it also determines the age at which a person may be eligible to stand for an election or be granted
ballot access Elections in the United States The United States of America (U.S.A. or USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US) or America, is a country Continental United States, primarily located in North America. It consists of 50 U.S. st ...
. The first known example of a law enforcing age of candidacy was the ''
Lex Villia Annalis In Ancient Rome In historiography Historiography is the study of the methods of historian ( 484– 425 BC) was a Greek historian who lived in the 5th century BC and one of the earliest historians whose work survives. A historian i ...
'', a Roman law enacted in 180 BCE which set the minimum ages for senatorial
magistrates The term magistrate is used in a variety of systems of governments and laws to refer to a civilian officer who administers the law. In ancient Rome In historiography Historiography is the study of the methods of historian ( 484– ...
.


Controversies

Many
youth rights The youth rights movement (also known as youth liberation) seeks to grant the rights Rights are legal Law is a system of rules created and law enforcement, enforced through social or governmental institutions to regulate behavior,Rob ...
groups view current age of candidacy requirements as unjustified
age discrimination Ageism, also spelled agism, is stereotyping and/or discrimination against individuals or groups on the basis of their age. This may be casual or systematic.Quadagno, J. (2008). The field of social gerontology. In E. Barrosse (Ed.), Aging & the l ...
. Occasionally people who are younger than the minimum age will run for an office in protest of the requirement or because they don't know that the requirement exists. On extremely rare occasions, young people have been elected to offices they do not qualify for and have been deemed ineligible to assume the office. In 1934,
Rush Holt
Rush Holt
of West Virginia was elected to the
Senate of the United States The United States Senate is the Upper house, upper chamber of the United States Congress, with the United States House of Representatives, House of Representatives being the Lower house, lower chamber. Together they compose the national Bic ...
at the age of 29. Since the
U.S. Constitution The Constitution of the United States is the Supremacy Clause, supreme law of the United States, United States of America. This founding document, originally comprising seven articles, delineates the national frame of government. Its first t ...

U.S. Constitution
requires senators to be at least 30, Holt was forced to wait until his 30th birthday, six months after the start of the session, before being sworn in. In 1954,
Richard Fulton Richard Harmon Fulton (January 27, 1927 – November 28, 2018) was an American Democratic Democrat, Democrats, or Democratic may refer to: Politics *A proponent of democracy Democracy ( gr, δημοκρατία, ''dēmokratiā'', from ''d ...

Richard Fulton
won election to the
Tennessee Senate The Tennessee Senate is the upper house of the U.S. state In the United States The United States of America (U.S.A. or USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US) or America, is a country Continental United States, p ...

Tennessee Senate
. Shortly after being sworn in, Fulton was ousted from office because he was 27 years old at the time. The
Tennessee State Constitution The Constitution of the State of Tennessee defines the form, structure, activities, character, and fundamental rules (and means for changing them) of the U.S. State of Tennessee. The original constitution of Tennessee came into effect on June 1, ...
required that senators be at least 30. Rather than hold a new election, the previous incumbent,
Clifford Allen Clifford Robertson Allen (January 6, 1912 – June 18, 1978) was a Tennessee Lawyer, attorney and Democratic Party (United States), Democratic politician. Early life and career Allen was born in Jacksonville, Florida, and graduated from Sidwell ...

Clifford Allen
, was allowed to resume his office for another term. Fulton went on to win the next State Senate election in 1956 and was later elected to the
US House of Representatives The United States House of Representatives is the lower house A lower house is one of two chambers Chambers may refer to: Places Canada: *Chambers Township, Ontario United States: *Chambers County, Alabama *Chambers, Arizona, an unin ...
where he served for 10 years. In 1964 Congressman Jed Johnson, Jr. of Oklahoma was elected to the 89th Congress in the 1964 election while still aged 24 years. However, he became eligible for the House after turning 25 on his birthday, 27 December 1964, 7 days before his swearing in, making him the youngest ''legally '' elected and seated member of the United States Congress. In South Carolina, two Senators aged 24 were elected, but were too young according to the State Constitution: Mike Laughlin in 1969 and
Bryan Dorn
Bryan Dorn
(later a US Congressman) in 1941. They were seated anyway. On several occasions, the
Socialist Workers Party (USA) The Socialist Workers Party (SWP) is a communist party in the United States. Originally a group in the Communist Party USA that supported Leon Trotsky against Soviet leader Joseph Stalin, it places a priority on "solidarity work" to aid Strike ac ...
has nominated candidates too young to qualify for the offices they were running for. In 1972,
Linda Jenness Linda Jenness (born 1941) was a Socialist Workers Party (United States), Socialist Workers Party candidate for president of the United States in the 1972 United States presidential election, 1972 election. She received 83,380 votes (vs. 47,169,911 ...
ran as the SWP presidential candidate, although she was 31 at the time. Since the U.S. Constitution requires that the President and Vice President be at least 35 years old, Jenness was not able to receive
ballot access Elections in the United States The United States of America (U.S.A. or USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US) or America, is a country Continental United States, primarily located in North America. It consists of 50 U.S. st ...
in several states in which she otherwise qualified. Despite this handicap, Jenness still received 83,380 votes. In 2004, the SWP nominated Arrin Hawkins as the party's vice-presidential candidate, although she was 28 at the time. Hawkins was also unable to receive ballot access in several states due to her age.


Reform efforts

In the United States, many groups have attempted to lower age of candidacy requirements in various states. In 1994,
South Dakota South Dakota () (Sioux The Sioux or Oceti Sakowin (; Dakota Dakota may refer to: * Dakota people, a sub-tribe of the Sioux ** Dakota language, their language From this origin, Dakota may also refer to: Places United States * Dako ...

South Dakota
voters rejected a ballot measure that would have lowered the age requirements to serve as a State Senator or State Representative from 25 to 18. In 1998, however, they approved a similar ballot measure that reduced the age requirements for those offices from 25 to 21. In 2002, Oregon voters rejected a ballot measure that would have reduced the age requirement to serve as a State Representative from 21 to 18. During the early 2000s, the British Youth Council and other groups successfully campaigned to lower age of candidacy requirements in the United Kingdom. The age of candidacy was reduced from 21 to 18 in England, Wales and Scotland on 1 January 2007, when section 17 of the Electoral Administration Act, Electoral Administration Act 2006 entered into force.


International standards

International electoral standards which are defined in the International Public Human Rights Law, allow restricting candidacy on the basis of age. The interpretation of the International Covenant for Civil and Political Rights offered by the United Nations Human Rights Committee in the General Comment 25 states "Any conditions which apply to the exercise of the rights protected by article 25 (of the ICCPR) should be based on objective and reasonable criteria. For example, it may be reasonable to require a higher age for election or appointment to particular offices than for exercising the right to vote, which should be available to every adult citizen."


In various countries


Australia

In Australia a person must be aged 18 or over to stand for election to public office at federal, state or local government level. The youngest ever member of the Australian House of Representatives, House of Representatives was 20-year-old Wyatt Roy elected in the 2010 federal election after the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918, Electoral Act 1918 was amended (in 1973) to reduce the age of candidacy for that office from 21 to 18.


Austria

In Austria, a person must be 18 years of age or older to stand in elections to the European Parliament or National Council of Austria, National Council. The Diets of regional States of Austria, ''Länder'' are able to set a minimum age lower than 18 for to be in the polls in elections to the Diet itself as well as to municipal councils in the Land. In presidential elections the candidacy age is 35.


Belgium

Any Belgian who has reached the age of 18 years can stand for election for the Chamber of Representatives (Belgium), Chamber of Representatives, can become a member of the Senate (Belgium), Senate, or can be elected in one of the regional parliaments. This is regulated in the Constitution of Belgium, Constitution (Art. 64) and in the Special Law on the Reform of the Institutions.


Belize

According to the Constitution of Belize, a person must be at least 18 years old to be elected as a member of the House of Representatives (Belize), House of Representatives and must be at least 30 to be Speaker of the House. A person must be at least 18 years old to be appointed to the Senate (Belize), Senate and must be at least 30 to be president or Vice-President of the Senate. As only members of the House of Representatives are eligible to be appointed Prime Minister, the List of Prime Ministers of Belize, Prime Minister must be at least 18 years old. A person must also be at least 18 years old to be elected to a village council.


Brazil

The Brazilian Constitution (Article 14, Section 3 (VI)) defines 35 years as the minimum age for someone to be elected president, Vice-President or Senator; 30 years for state Governor or Vice-Governor; 21 for Federal or State Deputy, Mayor or Vice-Mayor; and 18 for city Councilman.


Canada

In Canada, to be eligible to run for elected office one must be a minimum of 18 years or older on the day of the election. However, to be appointed to the Senate of Canada, Senate (Upper House), one must be at least 30 years of age, must possess land worth at least $4,000 in the province for which they are appointed, and must own real and personal property worth at least $4,000, above their debts and liabilities.


Chile

In Chile the minimum age required to be elected President of Chile, President of the Republic is 35 years on the day of the election. Before the 2005 reforms the requirement was 40 years, and from 1925 to 1981 it was 30 years. For Senate of Chile, senators it is 35 years (between 1981 and 2005 it was 40 years) and for Chamber of Deputies of Chile, deputies it is 21 years (between 1925 and 1970 it was 35 years).


China

In China the minimum age to be elected as president or vice-president is 45. All citizens who have reached the age of 18 have the right to vote and stand for election.


Cyprus

In Cyprus the minimum age to be elected president is 35 years. The minimum age to run for the House of Representatives (Cyprus), House of Representatives was 25 years until the Constitution of Cyprus, Constitution was amended in 2019 to lower the limit to 21.


Czech Republic

In the Czech Republic, a person must be at least 18 years old Elections in the Czech Republic, to be elected in local elections. A person must be at least 21 years old to be elected to the Chamber of Deputies of the Czech Republic, lower house of the Parliament of the Czech Republic, Czech Parliament or to the European Parliament and 40 years old to be a member of the upper house (Senate of the Czech Republic, Senate) of the Parliament or the President of the Czech Republic.


Denmark

In Denmark, any adult 18 years of age or older can become a candidate and be elected in any public election.


Estonia

In Estonia, any citizen 18 years of age or older Elections in Estonia, can be elected in local elections, and 21 years or older in Riigikogu, parliamentary elections. The minimum age for the President of Estonia is 40.


France

In France, any citizen 18 years of age or older can be elected to the National Assembly (France), lower house of Parliament, and 24 years or older for the Senate (France), Senate. The minimum age for the President of France is 18.


Germany

In Germany a citizen shall be over 18 Elections in Germany, to be elected in national, like the Chancellor of Germany, Chancellor, regional or local elections and a person shall be over 40 years of age to be President of Germany, President.


Greece

In Greece, those aged 25-years-old and over who hold Greek citizenship are eligible to stand and be elected to the Hellenic Parliament.GREECE Vouli Ton Ellinon (Hellenic Parliament)
''INTER-PARLIAMENTARY UNION''. Retrieved 6 January 2019.


Hong Kong

In Hong Kong a person must be at least 21 to be candidate in a district council or Legislative Council election. A person must be at least 40 to be candidate in the Chief Executive (Hong Kong), Chief Executive election, and also at least 40 to be candidate in the election for the President of the Legislative Council of Hong Kong, President of the Legislative Council from among the members of the Legislative Council.


Iceland

For the office of President of Iceland, President, any Icelandic citizen who has reached the age of 35 and fulfills the requirement necessary to vote in elections to the Althing is eligible to be elected president.


India

In India a person must be at least: *35 to be the President of India, President or Vice President of India, Vice President, Governors of states of India, Governor and Governors of states of India, Lieutenant-Governor of the States and territories of India, States as specified in the Constitution of India *30 to be a member of Rajya Sabha (the upper house of Parliament of India) and a Vidhan Parishad (the upper house of a State Legislature, in those states where the legislature is bicameral.) *25 to be the Prime Minister of India, Prime Minister, Speaker of the Lok Sabha, Lok Sabha Speaker, Cabinet of India, Union Minister, Chief Minister (India), Chief Minister, Vidhan Sabha, Vidhan Sabha Speaker, Minister in the State Governments. Additionally, to be a member of Lok Sabha (the lower house of Parliament of India) and a Vidhan Sabha (the lower house a State Legislature in the States of India.) *21 to be the Mayor, Chairman, Head and a Member (Members are variously called Corporators/Councillors/Ward Members according to the type of their respective local bodies) of a Nagar Nigam (Municipal Corporation), Nagar Palika (Municipal Council), Nagar Panchayat (Town Committee), Gram Sabha (Village Council) and Gram Panchayat (Village Committee) respectively. Criticism has been on the rise to decrease the age of candidacy in India. Young India Foundation has been working on a campaign to decrease the age of candidacy in India for Member of parliament#India, MPs and Member of the Legislative Assembly (India), MLAs to better reflect the large young demographic of India.


Indonesia

In Indonesia a person must be at least: *35 to be President of Indonesia, President or Vice President of Indonesia, Vice President as specified in the Constitution of Indonesia *30 to be Governor or Lieutenant Governor, as specified in the 2004 Regional Government Act *25 to be Regent, Vice Regent, Mayor, or Deputy Mayor, as specified in the 2004 Regional Government Act *21 to be Senator or Representative in both national and local parliament, as specified in the 2008 Election Act


Israel

In Israel one must be at least 21 to become a member of the Knesset (Basic Law: The Knesset section 6(a)) or a Municipal elections in Israel, municipality. When the Prime Minister of Israel, Prime Minister was directly elected, one must have been a member of the Knesset who is at least 30 to be a candidate for Prime Minister. Every Israeli Citizen (including minors) can be appointed as a Government of Israel, Government Minister, or elected as President of Israel, but the latter role is mostly ceremonial and elected by the Parliament.


Italy

In Italy, a person must be at least 50 to be President of the Republic, 40 to be a Italian Senate, Senator, and 25 to be a Italian Chamber of Deputies, Deputy, as specified in the 1947 Constitution of Italy. 18 years of age is sufficient, however, to be elected member of the Council of Regions, Provinces, and Municipalities (Communes).


Iran

In Iran a person must be at least 21 years old to run for president.


Iraq

The Iraqi constitution states that a person must be at least 40 years old to run for president and 35 years old to be Prime Minister. Until 2019, the electoral law set the age limit at 30 years old for candidates to run for the Council of Representatives. However, the new Iraqi Council of Representatives Election Law (passed in 2019, yet to be enacted) lowered the age limit to 28.


Ireland

The 1937 Constitution of Ireland requires the President of Ireland, President to be at least 35 and members of the Oireachtas (legislature) to be 21. Member of the European Parliament, Members of the European Parliament for Ireland must also be 21. Members of Local government in the Republic of Ireland, local authorities must be 18, reduced from 21 in 1973. The 1922–1937 Constitution of the Irish Free State required Teachta Dála, TDs (members of the Dáil Éireann (Irish Free State), Dáil, lower house) to be 21, whereas Seanad Éireann (Irish Free State), Senators had to be 35 (reduced to 30 in 1928).Constitution of the Irish Free State, Article 31; The Thirty-fifth Amendment of the Constitution Bill 2015 proposed to lower the presidential age limit to 21. However, this proposal was rejected by 73% of the voters.


Japan

In Japan a person must be at least: *25 to be the Member of parliament of the House of Representatives (Japan), House of Representatives with Japanese nationality, to be the Member of metropolitan, prefecture, city, town, or village with valid vote rights, or to be the Mayor#Japan, Mayor *30 to be the Governor (Japan), Governor, or to be the Member of parliament of the House of Councillors (Japan), House of Councillors with Japanese nationality. See also House of Peers (Japan).


Malaysia

In Malaysia a citizen shall be over 21 years of age to become a candidate and be elected to the Dewan Rakyat and Dewan Undagan Negeri, and a person shall be over 30 to be the Dewan Negara, Senator by constitution.


Mexico

In Mexico, a person must be at least 35 to be president, 25 to be a Senator, or 21 to be a Congressional Deputy, as specified in the 1917 Constitution of Mexico.


Netherlands

In the Netherlands, any adult 18 years of age or older can become elected in any public election. To be a candidate the person has to reach this age during the time for which the elections are held. Therefore, the minimum age to be a candidate is 14 years (plus or minus a few days, depending on the date of the next elections).


New Zealand

In New Zealand the minimum age to be Prime Minister of New Zealand is 18 years old. Citizens and permanent residents who are enrolled as an elector are eligible to be a candidate for election as a Member of Parliament.


Nigeria

In Nigeria, a person must be at least 35 years of age to be elected President of Nigeria, President or Vice President of Nigeria, Vice President, 35 to be a Senator, 30 to be a State Governor, and 25 to be a Representative in parliament or Member of the States' House of Assembly.


North Korea

In North Korea, any person eligible to vote in elections to the Supreme People's Assembly is also eligible to stand for candidacy. The age for both voting and candidacy is 17.


Norway

In Norway, any adult can become a candidate and be elected in any public election, from the calendar year that he or she turns 18 years.


Palestine

Palestinian parliamentary candidates must be at least 28 years old, while the presidential candidates must be at least 40 years old.


Pakistan

In Pakistan, a person must be at least 45 years old to be President of Pakistan, President. A person must be at least 25 years old to be a member of the provincial assembly or national assembly.


Philippines


Poland


Portugal


Russia

In Russia a person must be at least 35 to run for president.The Constitution of the Russian Federation: A Contextual Analysis, Henderson, Jane


Singapore

In Singapore a person must be at least 45 years old to run for president. 21 year-olds can stand in parliamentary elections.


South Africa

Section 47, Clause 1 of the 1996 Constitution of South Africa states that "Every citizen who is qualified to vote for the National Assembly is eligible to be a member of the Assembly", defaulting to Section 46 which "provides for a minimum voting age of 18 years" in National Assembly elections; Sections 106 and 105 provide the same for provincial legislatures.


South Korea


Spain

Spain has two legislative chambers of Parliament, a lower house and an upper house. These are the Congress of Deputies (lower house) and the Senate of Spain (upper house) respectively. The minimum age requirement to stand and to be elected to either house is 18 years of age.Spain
''Youthpolicy.org''. Retrieved 6 January 2019.


Sweden

In Sweden, any citizen at least 18 years old, who resides, or who has resided in the realm can be elected to parliament. Citizens of Sweden, the European Union, Norway or Iceland aged 18 and over may be elected to county or municipal council. Citizens of other countries may also be elected to council, provided they have resided in the realm for at least three years.


Switzerland

In Switzerland, any citizen aged 18 or over can become a candidate and be elected in any federal election.


Taiwan

In the Republic of China (commonly known as Taiwan) the minimum age to be elected as president or vice-president is 40.


Turkey

The Ottoman constitution of 1876, 1876 constitution set the age for parliamentary elections as 30. This remained unchanged until 13 October 2006, when it was lowered to 25 through a constitutional amendment. In 2017, it was further lowered to 18, the same as the voting age.


United Kingdom

In the United Kingdom, a person must be aged 18 or over to stand in Elections in the United Kingdom, elections to all parliaments, assemblies, and councils within the UK, devolution, devolved, or local level. This age requirement also applies in elections to any individual elective public office; the main example is that of an Elected mayors in the United Kingdom, elected mayor, whether of Mayor of London, London or a Local government in the United Kingdom, local authority. There are no higher age requirements for particular positions in public office. Candidates are required to be aged 18 on both the day of nomination and the day of the poll. This was reduced from 21 by the Electoral Administration Act 2006.


United States

In the United States, a person must be aged 35 or over to serve as president. To be a Senator, a person must be aged 30 or over. To be a Representative, a person must be aged 25 or older. This is specified in the Article Two of the United States Constitution#Clause 5: Qualifications for office, U.S. Constitution. Most states in the U.S. also have age requirements for the offices of Governor, State Senator, and State Representative. Some states have a minimum age requirement to hold any elected office (usually 21 or 18).


Venezuela

In Venezuela, a person must be at least 30 to be President of Venezuela, President or Vice President of Venezuela, Vice President, 21 to be a deputy for the National Assembly of Venezuela, National Assembly and 25 to be the Governor of a States of Venezuela, state.Constitution of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela - Part 4, Chapter III, Article 160
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Comparison chart

Dashes indicate that the position or house does not exist in that particular country, such as countries that are unicameralism, unicameral.


See also

*Youth *Youth suffrage *Youth rights *Ageism *Ballot access *Electoral reform *Voting age


Notes and references

{{Law country lists Electoral restrictions Legal terminology Lists by country Minimum ages