Republikon Institute has organised a conference with the aim of discussing the interplay between young people and politics with regards to their role in general, voter turnout and potential ways in which their participation could be increased.
The participants of the conference were Dávid Bihal (representative, district XV. municipality, MSZP), Gergő Keresztesy (vice president, Jobbik Youth Party), Ernő Korponyai (representative, Szeged municipality, Fidelitas), Petra Major (representative, Budapest district X., Párbeszéd), Dorottya Szabolcs (vice president, Future Association, LMP), Flóra Szigeti (representative, Budapest district V., Momentum), Tamás Szilágyi (representative, Hegyfalu municipality, Democratic Dynamic, DK).
The conference was opened by Gábor Horn, founder of Republikon who highlighted the importance of youth participation in politics. The basis of the conference was a research conducted by Mikecz Dániel, lead researcher of the Republikon Institute who, as the moderator of the event, started off with presenting his findings. The main conclusion of the study is that the attitude of young people is not significantly different than that of older generations with regards to general topics, however, they tend to be more liberal and more closely associated with green politics.
All members of the panel discussion agreed on the fact that young people nowadays take a rather passive role in politics. Potential reasons for this phenomenon are, for instance, that they view politics in a negative light due to the current dynamics, (argued by Gergő Keresztesy and Petra Major), or that they believe it to have little influence on their lives. Many participants of the discussion emphasise that political activism that takes the form of, for instance, protests has increased, however, young people would prefer to keep away from party politics itself. Potential solutions for increasing political participation among young people are engaging in topics that interests them, such as climate change (argued by Dorottya Szabolcs), or changing the rhetoric in a way that shows them that political participation is actually a positive phenomenon from which they benefit.
Panel members also discussed the roles youth parties play vis-à-vis the main party, where they emphasised that a partnership has to be established between the two, with the need to treat each other as equals. Youth parties provide opportunities for people to actively participate in politics through providing training, and allowing young people to make their voices heard.
Another topic of discussion was the relationship between youth parties. The participants agreed that conflicts and differences in opinions are natural phenomena, and that it is important to address these through facilitating conversations between the parties.
Co-founded by the Europe for Citizens Programme
of the Europen Union