Today’s young people, tomorrow’s members of the Parliament and opinion leaders
A good turnout of the majority of first voters has remained a trend in the 2021 Parliamentary Elections.
Every second 18-year-old went to the polls on 11 July. This means 15,770 of the 32,041 young people included on the voters’ lists.
Young people who turned 18 before or even on election day went to the polls in a proportion of 37.4% at the 2019 local elections (for local elections, the turnout of voters is traditionally lower than in the general elections). The participation rate of the 18-years-old young people has reached 62.5% in the second round of the 2020 presidential elections. Thus, the data confirm that this category of voters is as active as other age groups (26–40 years; 41–55 years), where every second person goes to the polls.
More data, including by age and gender, is available in the Gender Analysis of the 2020 Presidential Elections. New data for the 2021 Parliamentary Elections will be published in September, on International Democracy Day.
Why would I run for Parliament?
Most girls and boys conscious of their voting power can become motivators for their peers who are not yet aware of this.
And such young men and women, who are not even 18 yet, exist. Some of them, aged between 12 and 18, aspire to become a MP. These are the more than 40 children and young people who, invited by the Centre for Continuous Electoral Training (CICDE) and UNDP, with the support of USAID Moldova, told in their essays why they would like to run for Parliament and what would be their priorities in the four years of office.
Six of them succeeded to get the first three winning places. The contest was organized during June — July 2021 and the opportunity was the organization of early parliamentary elections.
Daniela Plămădeală is 16 years old and the essay she wrote brought her the first place in the 16–19 years old category.
"The era of women in the kitchen is taken over by gender equality, the motivation being more attractive than ever. We are the future! That being said, we are taught to think critically, out of the box and not to be manipulated by the political status quo of the Republic of Moldova. Tomorrow’s Parliament Members will be today’s young people who study, read, get out of their comfort zone, are guided by international techniques, preoccupation for social inclusion and do not close their eyes to injustice.”
Daniela also says that she would like to be a MP in a honest Parliament, or rather a place where the only battles would be those of debates for important and valuable projects, and not a circus of pseudo-values and mutual denigration.
The young woman is convinced that age does not stop her from speaking up her feelings, and valuing the opportunities in her life and “vaccinating” herself against misinformation. For her, Churchill’s words perfectly describe a future politician: “A politician becomes a State official when it starts thinking about the new generations, not the new elections".
At 12 years old only, Vadim Sincu from Drochia writes in his essay: "People have always wanted to be remembered in the history and I am not an exception. To remain in history as a politician who has changed the course of his country is the greatest honor that a citizen can have," reflects Vadim, and explains what he would do if he were a MP:
"If I became a parliamentarian, I would ensure foreign investment in the country, encouraging the development of new companies that would reduce unemployment and stop migration, I would support the agricultural sector, because the Moldova's land is our basic resource and I would definitely promote laws that protect the environment. I would also fight for human rights, promote culture, support athletes and definitely develop the tourism, so that our country can be admired by the whole world.”
Vadim is confident when it comes to his plans as a politician, because he has already decided that he wants to form a party and run when he turns 18, together with his team: "It is not enough to be ambitious and have great ideas. You need an efficient team that shares your ideals and gathers more and more people who would support you in the parliamentary elections".
Vadim obtained the first place in the age category 12–15 years, with the maximum score from the evaluation jury.
The other winning places and prizes were obtained by:
Paula Frimu, 14 years old, Chisinau — 2nd place / category 12–15 years old
Oleg Chiseliov, 16 years old, Chisinau — 2nd place / category 16–19 years old
Madalina Turcanu, 12 years, Drochia — 3rd place / category 12–15 years
Daniela Simion, 16 years old, Novaci village, Calarasi district — 3rd place / category 16–19 years old
And a special prize was offered to Sandu Osipov, 14 years old from Causeni district.
Electoral vlogging, inspired by comics with Arci, the most popular hedgehog in the country
Thus, electoral education and awareness of democratic processes among children and young people materialize not only in aspirations about political careers, but also in taking a stand on the right to participate equally in social and political life.
Victor Ursu graduated from the 4th grade in the “Vasile Coroban” High School from Glodeni, and this spring he participated in the third edition of the electoral vlogging contest, organized by CICDE, with the support of UNDP and USAID Moldova and obtained the first place in the category 7–10 years.
Victor was helped by his brother, Adrian, and together they produced a vlog based on the electoral comics "Arci, for elections without barriers", distributed to high school children in Glodeni during the second mobile campaign “Arci’s Journey to Elections", organized in February-April 2021.
Victor remembers clearly the moment when he received the comics. And the most important lesson he learned is that all children and adults have the right to equal access in public institutions and polling stations. That is why Victor, when he grows up, wants to make accessible as many schools as possible, so that all children, no matter of their disability, have the opportunity to come to school, to learn in classes, along with all other colleagues. And when they reach the age of 18, to exercise their right to vote inside polling stations.
The high school where Victor studies is already accessible, having a ramp. That’s why the footage for the winning vlog was taken at school.
For Victor, Adrian, his older brother, is an example of civic activism. Adrian learns the profession of journalist in Romania and, since he turned 18, he has voted conscientiously at every elections.
During the two information and civic education campaigns for children and their parents “Arci’s Journey to Elections”, organized in 2020 and 2021, over 30,000 primary school children read and drew the electoral comics with the hedgehog Arci. This is a character already known in the four editions of the comics, whose mission is to tell children in a simple and easy way about democracy and electoral processes. The last edition of the electoral vlogging contest based on Arci’s stories was attended by over 100 children from all regions of the country.
“Democracy can be learned” remains the CICDE slogan, thus preparing children and young people for the election day, when for the first time they will put the stamp on the ballot paper, when, perhaps, there will be much more than half of those 18 years old.
This article has been developed by UNDP Moldova in the framework of the “Enhancing democracy in Moldova through inclusive and transparent elections” project, implemented with the support from the American People provided through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).
More information about enhancing democracy in Moldova through inclusive and transparent elections is available at undp.md/electoral-support