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Inclusion is one of the main principles of good governance, given that young people make up the majority of the municipal population; the rights on their participation in decision-making will be treated in a specific way.

04 April 2018

Youth

Lack of youth representation at the local level can lead to disengagement towards "political machinery" if the younger generation feels their voices and opinions are not taken into account, that their needs are not met and if they find it difficult to engage. It is easy to feel helpless, to sit down, and stay and see your voice going away from you. But there are actually ways for young people to get involved in their local policy, depending on their age and their desired level of involvement.

First of all, voting is the easiest way for your voice to be heard. Law no. 03/L-073 on General Elections in the Republic of Kosovo states that any citizen or refugee of 18 years of age and who is not declared mentally incapacitated by a court under Article 5 has the right to vote. On the scheduled election day, go to your voting center (open from 7:00 am to 7:00 pm) with an identification document and cast your ballot with the name of the candidate (s) you wish to vote. If you think that you are missing information, before the voting day, voter education activities will be undertaken by the election administration bodies, pursuant to Article 3 of Law no. 03/L-013 on Local Elections, on "voting procedures and procedures for the protection of electoral rights".

If you reached the age of 18 and meet the legal obligations of the Law on General Elections, the best way to influence directly in the decision-making is by taking part in the election as a candidate for municipal assembly members.

Of course there are other more flexible ways of engagement at the local level. By being actively informed and keeping in touch with what is happening in your municipality or neighborhood, through television, electronic sites, social networks, while public announcements is the first step towards engagement. This is made easier, given that municipalities, as public institutions, are obliged because of the legal obligations regarding transparency to publish minutes of meetings, but you can also follow them in real time. Another way to be educated is through research on relevant youth projects and trainings aimed at educating young people and developing their participation at the local level of policies of their municipalities.

To continue with other ways towards political engagement through volunteering. Engaging as a volunteer in a political group of your choice may have a particle of your way of work in a political group - it can be a political party or a more informal group of civic initiatives. Another less partisan way is through the Local Youth Action Council. Your engagement with other people would allow you to produce recommendations that address your peer needs and submit them to the municipal assembly for consideration. A number of local youth action councils already exists in Kosovo, including in the municipalities of Prishtina, Peja, Lipjan, Podujeva, Prizren and Deçan. If there is no one yet in your municipality, start one!

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