Youth Forum, the only platform that unites young politicians from different parties
After two days of intensive work, the 150 participants of the National Youth Forum on Elections, the Second Edition, simulated elections on Sunday, 21 July.
Although it was a simulation exercise, the rules were similar to the real ones used in general local elections. Candidates for the councillor’s position were involved, as well as candidates for the post of mayor. Once again, the Youth Forum managed to unite the young people, making them put aside the party policy e and focus on their team’s mission.
Who are the Youth Forum participants?
The Youth Forum is an event intended for members of youth organisations under the political parties of the country.
As in the 2018 Edition, the invitation to attend the 2019 Event was circulated to all political parties registered in the Republic of Moldova. Among all parties, 17 youth organisations accepted the invitation. Some parties were delegated more participants, others — fewer .
However, the Youth Forum was attended by representatives of large and small parties, parliamentary and extra-parliamentary parties. Likewise, two thirds of participants came from the party territorial entities and one third from Chisinau Municipality. Therefore, it was a national-level event, which covered all regions of the country.
Why do we organise the National Youth Forum on Elections?
The Second edition of the National Youth Forum on Elections has been organised by the Central Electoral Commission (CEC) and the Centre for Continuous Electoral Training (CICDE) in the framework of the “Enhancing democracy in Moldova through inclusive and transparent elections” Project implemented by UNDP Moldova with the financial support provided by the United States Agency for International Development, the British Embassy in Chisinau through the Good Governance Fund and by the Embassy of Netherlands through Matra Program.
While during the First Edition the participants were familiarised with the mixed election system, which served as basis for the Parliamentary elections held in February 2019, this time the event was focused on conducting the general local elections, to capture the significance of elections processes and successful examples of local governance.
To this end, Igor Botan, Executive Director of the Association for Participatory Democracy “ADEPT” and Nicolae Dandis, Mayor of Cahul Town were amongst the special guests. Igor Botan emphasised the most important moments from the history of general local elections, and Nicolae Dandis shared his last four-year experience as mayor of the southern capital, elected by Cahul town inhabitants as an independent, politically unaffiliated candidate.
“I am pleased that this year we have young representatives of 17 political parties as compared to only seven parties, which confirmed their attendance to the forum last year. This demonstrates the interest. It is of great importance for us the whole society to be well informed how the local general elections are organised; while over these three days, the young people have had the opportunity to learn many things about this topic. We do hope that they would further carry the message and information to contribute to holding fair and objective election campaigns,” noted Corneliu Pasat, Deputy Head of Communication, PR and Media Division (CEC).
Angela Caraman, CICDE Deputy Director, said: “The National Youth Forum on Elections is another activity of training and simulation of election processes, which represents CICDE mandate. It is known that people usually learn more from their own experience. Therefore, we shall provide the young people with the opportunity to learn from such experience, enhance their capacity to engage in civic or political activity.”
Alla Skvortova, Programme Specialist/Effective Governance, UNDP Moldova, noted: “Following the success achieved by the Forum First Edition organised last year we are delighted to bring improvements to this activity, while having kept the best practices, especially the interactive format, simulation-based learning and a high level of representation of political parties.”
Even in the evening of their first working day at the CEC, Dorin Cimil, CEC Chairperson and Maxim Lebedinschi, CEC Secretary attended an offline session with the young people, during which they told them about their plans and visions regarding CEC developments. The young people were very active and asked many questions, while the new CEC members were keen to answer them.
What do the young people do at the Youth Forum?
For three days, the participants were guided by the CEC, CICDE and the Association for Participatory Democracy “ADEPT” mentors. The young people were assigned to five different workshops with the aim to conduct a local elections day simulation as realistically as possible. The participants were randomly assigned to groups so that each workshop comprised representatives of different youth political organisations. Hence, they established:
- Three groups of electoral competitors
- A group of civil society/media representatives
- A group of electoral body representatives
During the first day, the young people got acquainted with their team members and with their assignments. Likewise, they created parties and developed the whole package of documents to register the candidates for the General Local Elections.
Therefore, the next day morning, the three parties established at the Youth Forum came forward to stand for elections, having submitted also the list of their nominees for the councillor’s position and a candidate for the mayor’s post. An independent candidate was also registered for the mayor’s post, who resigned afterwards in favour of another candidate.
The second day was spent to prepare the election campaign, slogans and platforms, as well as the simulated debates.
During the third day, the participants turned out to vote. Three polling stations were opened to this end, each of them being under the responsibility of one team established by the electoral bodies. According to the outcomes of the first round of elections, none of the candidates accumulated the large majority of votes; therefore, the second round was conducted. At the end, a single winner of elections was announced and 11 councillors, the team of the newly elected mayor.
Although it was a simulation, the rules were observed, while the young people who established the Central Electoral Commission made sure they hold transparent and fair elections. At the same time, the participants who played the role of journalists engaged actively in the process, while the civil society representatives monitored the elections as observers.