At the December 2021 debate, representatives of youth branches from the Alliance for Albanians, BESA, VMRO-DPMNE, Democratic Union for Integration, Liberal Democratic Party, and Social-Democratic Union of Macedonia presented and discussed their positions. The aim of the debate was to demonstrate cooperation and dialogue among political parties on issues that matter to citizens. Through such events, young politicians set an example of constructive communication in an otherwise polarised climate.
This was the final event of the Political Debate Academy, where over twenty representatives from seven different political parties attended a three-module training programme focused on supporting discussion, building policy argumentation, practicing debate, and public speaking. As a result of the programme the youth branches organised follow-up events engaging around 100 members of their branches.
The participants of the programme showed that youth branches in North Macedonia have capacities for high-quality and fact-based discussions, setting an example for political constructiveness. This programme was an investment, not only in cross-party networking, but also in future politicians. Half of the programme participants ran as candidates on local elections in 2021. Three of them were elected for their first council positions. .
The culture of dialogue and open discussion based on arguments is in the heart of democratic societies. Only through open exchange of differing ideas can we advance positions and policies in the interest of citizens. This programme showed that Macedonian parties have similar ideas about how to improve youth’s position in the county. The Practicing Democracy through Policy Debate project was implemented by WFD with the support of the British Government through the Western Balkans Democracy Initiative.