On Tuesday, 26 April, Solvita Āboltiņa, Speaker of the Saeima, together with representatives from pro-transparency NGO Delna and the Children’s Forum of Latvia, launched the Youth Parliament project. She pointed out that the parliament should be open to all ideas and all people, including youths, whose creative ideas will shape Latvia in the future.
The motto of the Youth Parliament – Through experience to understanding! – shows that through participation and games, young people will learn more about the everyday work of the parliament and understand the political processes in a parliamentary democracy.
The Youth Parliament has its own website, www.jauniesusaeima.lv, which provides the platform for an improvised election campaign scheduled for the period from 26 April to 22 May. On this website, Latvian schoolchildren between the ages of 15 and 19 are invited to come up with their ideas in order to compete for the 100 seats in the Youth Parliament.
The 100 schoolchildren whose ideas receive the most votes will try walking in MPs’ shoes on 3 June. The Youth Parliament will closely emulate the routine of the Saeima. There will be line committee meetings and a plenary sitting with debate and voting. After the debate, the Youth Parliament will adopt a resolution incorporation young people’s ideas regarding the development and future of Latvia.
Solvita Āboltiņa emphasised that members of the Youth Parliament will be selected from five constituencies exactly as it is done during Saeima elections. Each constituency will delegate the same number of candidates as at the last Saeima election. The Speaker was the first person who, during the press conference, voted for one of the ideas proposed by candidates.
The Speaker expressed gratification that voting for ideas proposed by the young people will take place online because the Internet is an increasingly important medium for this target group.
All who have a user profile at the social network www.draugiem.lv can vote for their favourite candidates and support their ideas. Each voter has only one vote, but after a month it can be cast for another person, depending on the chosen candidate’s performance. Ideas can be expressed and voted for until 11:59 p.m. on 22 May.
Kristaps Petermanis, Director of the pro-transparency NGO Delna, expressed the hope that the Internet resource www.jauniesusaeima.lv will be user friendly and interesting for everybody.
Inete Ielīte, member of the Board of the Children’s Forum of Latvia, noted that members of the Youth Parliament will have an equal opportunity to share their ideas and opinions. She was pleased that young people will have a chance to publicly express their opinion on issues that interest them.
Photos from the press conference are available at:
Video from the press conference is available at:
Saeima Press Service