2nd Youth Parliament
On 27 April 2012, the Saeima opened its doors to young people from all regions of Latvia – the members of the Youth Parliament – thus inviting them to get acquainted with the specifics of the legislature’s work and to address their peers from the rostrum of the Saeima on the subjects that are topical to society. The 100 members of the Youth Parliament were chosen by a public vote on their ideas on how to promote the development of Latvia. The most fierce competition was in the Riga constituency, where 64 candidates vied for 30 seats. Altogether, 196 candidates applied for the Youth Parliament, and a total of 5,747 votes were cast for their ideas.
The Youth Parliament closely emulated the routine of the Saeima and the legislative process taking place in committee meetings and plenary sittings. Members of the Youth Parliament convened for their first sitting in the Plenary Chamber of the Saeima to approve their mandates and composition of the committees. The sitting was chaired by Solvita Āboltiņa, Speaker of the Saeima, while those youths whose ideas had received the most votes were the other four members of the Presidium.
The youths drafted four declarations concerning education, economy, youth participation and European Union issues.
In the European Affairs Committee, the youths discussed ways to use the opportunities offered by the European Union more efficiently, while the Human Rights and Public Affairs Committee considered how to promote a healthy lifestyle in society. Members of the Education, Culture and Science Committee worked on proposals on the development of a modern education system. The Economic, Agricultural, Environmental and Regional Policy Committee discussed how children and youths can contribute to sustainable economic growth.
After the committee meetings, the members of the Youth Parliament convened for the second plenary sitting in which they debated about proposals for amendments to the declarations.
The Youth Parliament established a group for interparliamentary relations with the United States; the group consisted of the youths who had taken part in the essay contest.
The most active and politically advanced members of the Youth Parliament were awarded the title of Future Politician. The title was awarded to Liene Dreimane from Riga State Gymnasium No. 3, Rolands Pragulbickis from Saldus Vocational Secondary School, Zane Ģierte from Talsi State Gymnasium, and Žaklīna Vagoliņa from Ogre State Gymnasium.
The Youth Parliament was organised by the Saeima in cooperation with Transparency International department in Latvia Delna and the Children’s Forum of Latvia. Publicity was provided by the social network Draugiem.lv and Latvian Television. The event was also supported by the European Commission Representation in Latvia and the Friedrich Ebert Foundation.
Official website of the Youth Parliament: www.jauniesusaeima.lv