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Prague Forum 2000: Young people miss themes, leaders in politics

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Prague, Oct 9 (CTK) – Young people miss themes and leaders that would address them in politics, participants in a panel debate about the approach to engagement in political life by the generation of people in their twenties at the Forum 2000 Prague conference of world personalities and thinkers showed on Monday.

Mainly in democratic countries, young people are not interested in participating in politics. They often feel frustrated by decisions on their lives being made by far older people. Moreover, they have no experience with living in an undemocratic system, the discussion showed.

Zuzana Vuova, 25, the first Czech youth delegate to the U.N., said her peers consider democracy a natural thing, also because events such as the Berlin Wall fall and the Czechoslovak Velvet Revolution, which shaped the older generation’s stances, seem remote to the 20- and 30-year olds.

She said for many young people, democracy is a kind of a toy. “If you have it, you show no interest in it, but if they take it away from you, you want it,” Vuova said.

British activist Mete Coban said the result of last year’s Brexit referendum boosted young people’s interest in politics in Britain.

The surprising British decision to leave the EU provoked a whole generation’s active approach to politics, Coban said.

The participants in the discussion panel, chaired by the economist and former Czech president Vaclav Havel’s adviser Tomas Sedlacek, agreed that young people’s disappointment and disinterest in politics is due to the present leaders failing to deal with problems faced by the young generation that grew up at the turn of the millennium.

At the same time, young people share a number of problems faced by the majority society, but they do not feel involved in tackling the problems.

“High unemployment, problems with housing, access to healthcare, these all are issues concerning young people. We are part of the problem and we also want to be part of the process of solving it,” Vuova said.

One of the ways to make the new generation involved would be quotas securing young leaders’ participation in politics. The basic condition, however, is young people’s participation in elections, Vuova said.

Coban suggested that electronic balloting be introduced to facilitate the youth’s participation in elections.

In the debate on Monday, the chair of Joshua Wong, a protagonist of the pro-democracy demonstrations in Hong Kong in 2014, remained vacant as a result of the six-month jail sentence he received in August.

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