Standing as a candidate

The right to stand as a candidate is restricted to adults in all Member States, with no exceptions.

In many Member States, the minimum age to run for particular offices can be higher than 18 years, based on the nature of competences attributed to those offices.



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Key aspects

  • The minimum age to stand for national general elections is 18 years in most Member States. Some Member States set higher age requirements, ranging from 21 years in Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Ireland, Latvia, Poland and Slovakia; to 23 years in Romania; and 25 years in Cyprus, Greece, Italy and Lithuania.
  • For local elections, 25 out of 28 EU Member States set the minimum age for standing as a candidate at 18 years. The minimum age requirement is set at 25 years in Cyprus; at 20 years in Lithuania; and at 23 years in Romania. However, in Cyprus, the age limit is lower for EU citizens living there, at 21 years. In Greece, Poland and Slovakia, there is a higher minimum age for mayoral candidates: 21 years in Greece, and 25 years in Poland and Slovakia.
  • For regional elections, in all Member States that provide for this type of election, the minimum age is set at 18 years. In Greece and Slovakia, there is a higher minimum age for candidates for the post of regional governor (21 and 25 years, respectively).
  • Regarding elections for the European Parliament, 15 Member States set the minimum age at 18 years. Ten Member States set the minimum age at 21 years; in Romania, the minimum age is 23 years; and in Greece and Italy, it is 25 years.
  • In 25 out of 28 Member States, the age requirements to stand as a candidate for the European Parliament are the same as the age requirements to stand for the national parliament. Interestingly, in Belgium, the age threshold for the European Parliament is higher at 21 years, while in Cyprus and Lithuania, the age requirement is set lower at 21 years.
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Minimum age requirements concerning children's rights in the EU - Specific data on Marriage and sexual consent; Citizenship; Political Participation; Religion; Health.

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