WFD Montenegro is beginning to tackle this issue by thinking of ways to engage young people in a meaningful and substantial way and make them feel less disenfranchised. In order to gain a better understanding of their views and inform its support, WFD conducted a survey on youth perceptions and attitudes towards politics in Montenegro.
The data gathered does not paint an encouraging picture:
57% of the young people interviewed claim that there are no politicians in Montenegro they trust;
48% of them feel that the politicians are not addressing them;
55% agree that individual human rights and liberties are not respected in Montenegro today.
The study further explores how young people form their knowledge about the political system, sense of the rules of collective life, ideas about citizens’ responsibilities, their understanding of relationships among people, social identification and recognizing themselves as a part of society, as well as their capacities for action.
Montenegrin youth show surprisingly negative attitudes towards the LGBT population, the larger portion of them is authoritarian and conservative, and the average respondent shows a lack of confidence in election process, while he/she is more inclined towards left-oriented economy concepts emphasizing greater role of the state in the economy.
When it comes to gender equality, the data are surprising as well – the adult population older than 55 show a more progressive understanding of men’s and women’s roles than their younger counterparts: while 32% of 55+ year old citizens strongly disagree that men should be the bread-winner and women the main caretaker for the family, only 14% of young people disagrees with this statement. Similar data can be found when comparing the attitudes of the youth towards LGBTQ persons – more than half of respondents expressed a negative attitude towards LGBTQ persons.
The fact that 70% of respondents are thinking of leaving the country is also very worrying
WFD Montenegro Country Representative Ana Milutinovic said that we all bear responsibility in including youth in politics and decision making:
“I wouldn’t like these findings to be understood as just another critique of young people – as we tend to repeat constantly that young people are not interested, they are not motivated, they don’t want or can’t do something. We must take a step back and think about our roles in creating the attitudes which youth expressed during this survey.”
This survey contributes to a better understanding of the ways that youth can be included in the political life of the country, as well as the factors that cause pessimism among young people in Montenegro. And although the voices heard offer different perspectives, one thing is certain – there is a strong need for a sustainable strategy on how to include Montenegrin youth in politics.
“The UK can offer examples of good practice: education initiatives that are free and accessible, use of technology in communicating with young people, and empowering youth participation channels and mechanisms. The UK Youth Parliament, whose representative participated at Westminster Foundation for Democracy’s event on youth engagement in April this year, is a good example of all three.”
– The British Ambassador to Montenegro, H.E. Alison Kemp