5.2 Youth participation in representative democracy
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According to the “Survey of Voter Attitudes” of the Central Statistical Bureau of 2014, the activity of young people aged 18–24 in the elections of the Saeima is significantly lower than that of other groups of population – in total, 74% of the residents of Latvia participated in the 12th Saeima elections, while only 65% of young people aged 18–24 voted. Youth participation in the elections of the Saeima during the last two elections' period has not changed, but in comparison to the 10th Saeima elections, it has dropped by 8%. At the same time, it has to be emphasised that only 42% of young people participated in the elections of the 9th Saeima, consequently, current rate of 65% shall be considered positive in general.
It is interesting that young people in general are more satisfied with the work of their local governments rather than that of the government of Latvia, however, the activity of youth in the elections of local governments is significantly lower than in the Saeima elections. Only 37% of young people participated in the elections of local governments in 2013, but in 2005 – only 27%.
Paragraph 9 of Chapter II of the Constitution of the Republic of Latvia establishes that “any citizen of Latvia, who enjoys full rights of citizenship and who is more than twenty-one years of age on the first day of elections may be elected to the Saeima”. In the 12th Saeima (the last elections of the Saeima took place in autumn of 2014), at the moment of its elections, there was one person, whose age corresponds to the age group of youth in Latvia – 25 years. However, there is a tendency in Latvia that most of the members of the Saeima are persons older than 25.
In the elections of local governments, every citizen of Latvia who has reached the age of 18 may be elected.
Youth political representation is implemented as the Youth Parliament in the Saeima (see Chapter 5.3).