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Ministry will work towards enhancing youth participation in elections — Nabulsi

By Maram Kayed - Oct 17,2020 - Last updated at Oct 17,2020

AMMAN — Minister of Youth Mohammad Salameh Al Nabulsi has said that the ministry will work on enhancing the participation of young people in the upcoming parlia-mentary elections.

Involving the youth in the elections comes in response to “the urgent need of having young people freely choose whoever represents their ideas, hopes and aspirations in the House of Representatives,” Nabulsi said in a statement.

According to experts, youth’s political involvement world-wide is taking a hit, and Jordan is no exception. A 2018 Brookings report set out to evaluate the youth’s presence in decision-making politics, said that the Jordanian youth are “marginalised politically, socially and economically”.

However, former director of the Centre for Strategic Studies Musa Shteiwi said in previous remarks to The Jordan Times that although statistics indicate very little participation in political parties from youth, experts advise that the term “political involvement” be expanded to include political work action outside an institutionalised party as well.

“Contrary to common belief, youth are actually very in-volved in politics,” Shteiwi said.

According to a survey by the centre, youth organise and participate in protests, distribute flyers during parliamentary elections, express their thoughts on social media, and vol-unteer — all without being “formally” enrolled in a political party.

“It’s not fair to say that the youth are not involved. They have never been uninvolved, it’s just that now cyberspace has become their channel of participation instead of tradi-tional outlets,” added Shteiwi.

“One challenge that remains standing in the face of the youth’s involvement is the pressure of the previous genera-tion”, said Amani Majali, youth expert and former Ministry of Youth spokesperson.

“A large number of our youth feel the need to vote for whoever their parents are voting for, even though no one will be able to see who they actually chose in the ballet. However, voting for their family’s candidate is considered as a sign of loyalty that takes its toll on our impressionable youth,” she added.

Majali also noted that “young people, even if qualified, usually hold back from entering the election race them-selves, especially if an elder person in their tribe or family has already done so.”

However, the self-reliance of young people is what Minister Nabulsi hopes to work on through a number of pro-grammes, activities and rehabilitation workshops, based on what was stated in the Royal Letter of Designation.

“Enabling our promising human resources and providing them with scientific, professional and technical skills to raise their competitive advantages will be our goal,” said Nabulsi.

The ministry will “work in harmony with all ministries and state institutions to implement what was mentioned in the Royal Letter of Designation in light of the exceptional cir-cumstances of the coronavirus pandemic and its repercus-sions,” he added.

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