MIFTAH holds discussions on youth representation in decision-making positions
December 30, 2021

Ramallah – 28/12/20201 – As part of its efforts to shed light on the importance of the political participation of youth at the national and local levels, MIFTAH held a number of discussions in West Bank districts and the Gaza Strip. During these discussions, a factsheet was presented on the percentages of youth representation at all decision-making levels, aimed at providing an update on the status of youth’s political participation and the challenges that disrupt their progression in this regard.

The participants discussed the most significant results in the factsheet, which portrayed the reality of youth representation in leadership positons in Palestinian factions and parties, popular federations and work unions, in addition to women’s representation in student unions. The results showed that most leadership positions lacked the youth component, with no more than 1% representation. Moreover, the popular union leadership frameworks were also lacking youth representation. In union branches, youths were moderately represented but not in the boards of directors.

It was also noted that the percentage of representation of female students in Palestinian university student councils was 30.9%. The factsheet displayed a number of unconventional forms of political participation in which youth sectors found participatory spaces that intersects with various social components irrespective of any specific political affiliations. For example, the percentage of youth participation in volunteer work was 19.6%, followed by community development activities at 7% and participation in youth clubs, at 6%.

The participants presented on the results, saying these percentages reflected how youth were increasingly resorting to political participation in unconventional spaces, especially after the confidence crisis with political factions and parties and their impact on the Palestinian political system. The participants maintained that the youth is still searching for forms of political participation that will lead to real change on the ground, without becoming involved in areas that will hinder progress towards their goals.

Youth participants cited percentages that emerged from the first phase of recent local council elections, which showed that independent lists won 70.86% of the seats in local councils as opposed to 29.14% for faction lists. The attendees said they believe that if a periodic, democratic process is continued and maintained, whether at the local or legislative levels, this will double the chances for their political representation. They added that this could reflect on the vitality of the Palestinian political system through the active participation of women and youth.

The participants capped off the sessions with a number of recommendations including: encouraging youth to participate in the second half of the upcoming local elections as a precursor to moving in the direction of legislative elections and a gateway for resolving chronic national problems, including the political division. They also stressed that the democratic process is an integral part of the struggle and steadfastness of the Palestinian people and the way in which our internal affairs are run, through participation from all Palestinian components, without exception.

These sessions are part of MIFTAH’s interventions within its Youth Empowerment Program in cooperation with the Arab Palestinian Investment Company, APIC. The program aims at empowering young leaders capable of involvement and participation in decision-making positions through the adoption of democratic values and civic discourse as a framework for a political system capable of creating real partnership for all social components.