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The Tunisian strategies for Empowering Young and Future Voters”

NewsLetter The electoral abstention is not a phenomenon specific to young people. However, the decrease of juvenile participation has taken a universal dimension. Tunisian population is relatively young, indeed, 57% are under 35 years old. The question of the inclusion of young people is therefore a fundamental question for the future of democracy.
ISIE has tried to develop a multidimensional strategy based on 5 pillars to encourage active participation of young people :

1. Review the reasons for the demobilization of youth:
It is certain that young people are always more abstentionist.Their interests mainly concern the living environment, family, friends and leisure.
But the problems of young people vary according to country, social background and intellectual level, so it is necessary to study closely the real problems through focus groups, specialized studies and opinion polls to refine the diagnosis of abstentionism.

2. Opening up channels for discussion with young people:
It is necessary to re-establish contact with young people, to overcome their systematic rejection of politics. The ISIE has tried to act through youth associations, which organize youth cafés, workshops, seminars, voter education campaigns and organize visits to the electoral commission offices for youth groups belonging to the Citizenship clubs.
At the same time, ISIE has tried to institutionalize the communication through agreements of partnership and exchange between the electoral bodies, ministry of youth, ministry of national education and the observatory of young people alongwith the civic education program.

3. Innovate methods of action :
The use of new modes of communication : teasing, songs and spots that convey language and images appealing to young voters.
One can not hide that social networks are the channels of communication to be exploited as a priority ; Tunisia is the second African country to have access in terms of coverage of networks and uses.The celebration of the day of democracy for the first time in Tunisia on September 15, 2016, was an opportunity for ISIE and its partners to organize a forum where associations, artists and photo competitions allowed rich exchanges on the issue of youth participation.

4. Encourage the participation of young people in the electoral administration :
The recruitment of young people for awareness-raising campaigns, registration of voters and the management of voting centers, has allowed young people to join the electoral process. The election administration sets an example to demonstrate that elections are not an old affair.

5. Encourage the candidacy of young people for elections:
Today we have the proof that the reversal of the tendence of the absenteeism of the young begin by a change of the political elite ; The typical example of this solution is what happened in the Canadian elections in 2015 ; where a young leader (Mr Trudo), young candidate, was able to reverse the trend by a dazzling increase in participation and especially among young voters .The Tunisian constitution has fixed the electoral majority at 18 years . It also stipulated in its article 133, that the electoral law must guarantee the representativeness of the young people in the local councils.

It is certain that these actions need time and monitoring to provide results, and may be that the emergence of a young political elite could be the beginning of the expected change.

Pr .Mohamed Chafik SARSAR,