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Policy Paper: Improving Youth Representation Within Political Parties in Tunisia

Written by Fares Ben Terzi

Executive Summary

One of the most important elements of democracy is political participation, especially that of youth.
The involvement of young people in the political process is of great importance, as demonstrated by the deep political developments in Tunisia after the revolution to which the youth have contributed a great deal.
And after leading the march of change in the revolution of 17 December 2010 – 14 January 2011, the youth found themselves aside the circle of political action in the absence of legislation that encourages their involvement in public affairs and their participation in the political life. This caused a lot of frustration and disappointment amongst them and they set out to find other outlets to bring about change. Unfortunately, some of them ended up embracing extremism to destabilize the process of democracy that –as far as they’re concerned- has contributed to their alienation and their exclusion from political action and decision-making.
And while the Tunisian Constitution has stressed in the eighth chapter that “young people are a powerful force in building the country” and stated that “the electoral law guarantees the representation of young people in local councils” in chapter 133, there is still a dire need to support that by the revision of the political parties’ law in order to achieve two major goals: firstly, to improve the presence of youth within the central structures of political parties through a gradual implementation process; secondly, to get the political parties to dedicate a share of their capacity building budgets to train the youth and the young recruits within the parties.
It is in this context that we launch the initiative of “improving the political participation of youth through better representation within the central structures of political parties”.

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