Edvards Smiltēns to members of the 10th Youth Parliament: politics starts with an open heart and a seeing mind


On Friday, 21 April, Edvards Smiltēns, Speaker of the Saeima addressed the members of the 10th Youth Parliament saying: “Politics is a process that impacts society with the intention of improving its life. In this sense, politics is often all around us, because it starts with the small things in school, in our neighbourhood, non-governmental organisations, municipalities. It is starts with an open heart and a seeing mind, the ability to identify a problem, see the opportunity to do things better, find solutions and be committed to implementing them.”

The Speaker of the Saeima noted that people are very different and so are their ideas about what would be best for society. “Even though the objective may be the same, such as well-being, ideas about how to achieve them may be radically different. This leads to a competition of ideas. This is the difficult and complex side of parliamentary democracy,” Edvards Smiltēns said. At the same time, the Speaker of the Saeima also emphasised that this is also the greatest value of parliamentary democracy, providing a safeguard against radicalism and “going to the extremes with ill-considered decisions”, as it requires the ability to debate, argue and, most importantly, listen and hear out the community, as well as one another.

Edvards Smiltēns furthermore stressed that politics is also about personalities. “One must not only have the ability to identify a problem, they must possess the competence and knowledge to propose real, actionable solutions and great commitment and skill to see their ideas through, to convince, excite and inspire. This requires knowledge, experience and the desire to learn and develop throughout one’s life,” Speaker Smiltēns highlighted.

“I am certain that you will identify the main challenges of your time and overcome them excellently,” the Speaker of the Saeima concluded his address, expressing the hope that the experience the youths gained today would be a useful guide along the way.

Today, youths from across Latvia gathered at the Saeima for the 10th Youth Parliament to see what the daily work of a member of parliament is like for a day. Youths aged 15 to 20 could run in a virtual election by submitting an idea they hold to be important. The theme of this year’s project was “Latvia Chooses Democracy”, and the youths discussed strengthening independence, freedom of choice and the opportunities it provides, the role of education in safeguarding freedom and national identity, as well as strengthening democracy.

In order to run for election to the 10th Youth Parliament, youths had to submit their idea for the election and their proposals for draft declarations. Membership in the Youth Saeima is likened to the work of the actual parliament in how the legislative committees work and how plenary sessions are held.


Photos from the event: https://www.flickr.com/photos/saeima/albums/72177720307682873
Disclaimer and copyright: https://www.saeima.lv/en/copyright
About the project: www.jauniesusaeima.lv


Saeima Press Service

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