5.1 General context
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Section 21 Paragraph 4 of the Youth Law establishes that one of the basic principles of the youth policy is the principle of participation: 1) the principle of participation – to provide young people with an opportunity to engage in discussions regarding decisions that affect the youth policy prior to taking such decisions.
Section 7 of the Youth Law establishes youth participation in the development and implementation of the youth policy:
Young people have the right to participate in the development and implementation of the youth policy:
engaging in acquisition and provision of non-formal education and engaging in volunteering;
taking part in the work of self-governance bodies of educational institutions;
developing and implementing projects, as well as other initiatives;
participating in the activities of youth organisations, as well as other associations and foundations;
engaging in the national and local government decision-making process that affects the youth policy;
engaging in other activities, which are oriented towards the fostering of youth participation in the development and implementation of the youth policy.
Four strategic principles have been highlighted in the Sustainable Development Strategy of Latvia until 2030, which form the basis for the future of society in Latvia: creative activity, tolerance, cooperation and participation. *Creative activity – the ability to create new ideas, forms of action or also to link the existing ideas, concepts, methods and actions in a new way. *Tolerance provides for reduction of social exclusion and discrimination of all kinds, including inequality of income, age and gender discrimination in the labour market, ethnic prejudices and linguistic institutional obstacles. *Cooperation is horizontal and vertical cooperation among institutions and inhabitants. *Participation – each person is responsible for their own actions.
National Development Plan of Latvia for 2021-2027 (NDP2027) sets “A United & Open, Safe and Secure Society” as a priority – increasing skills and opportunities for networking and civic engagement, especially through youth civic education, participation in non-governmental organizations, trade unions and voluntary work.
Latvia is a parliamentary republic, where the head of the state is a president, but the highest executive power is exercised by a Prime Minister and the Cabinet of Ministers. The highest legislator is the Saeima that consists of 100 members of parliament elected by the people for 4 years in general, equal and direct elections by secret ballot based on proportional representation.
There are 43 local governments in Latvia, 7 of them are regional cities, but 36 – municipalities (novadi). Local government councils are re-elected once every 4 years.
The councils are elected by a secret and voluntary ballot. Voting is carried out using ballot papers.