IPU chief exhorts youth to run for public office
April 11 2019 12:04 AM
Gabriela Cuevas Barron speaking at IPU on Wednesday. PICTURE: Noushad Thekkayil.
Gabriela Cuevas Barron speaking at IPU on Wednesday. PICTURE: Noushad Thekkayil.

Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) president Gabriela Cuevas Barron has urged young legislators to continue supporting the ‘Not Too Young to Run’ campaign, which calls for states to allow young citizens to run for public office.

IPU, through its members and young legislators Members of Parliaments, wants countries around the globe to set the minimum age for eligibility for public office with the voting age.

“We need to change our legislation, we need to be more inclusive, half of the total world population is now on their 30 years of age,” she said.

“We need you young parliamentarians more than you can imagine. Please take the lead and adopt many of the projects that we are having in our organisation,” stressed Barron, who was addressing members of the Young Parliamentarians at the just-concluded 140th IPU Assembly in Doha.

Barron said being elected as the youngest president of the oldest international organisation of global character and the largest parliamentary institution in the world “is quite a challenge and a huge responsibility.”

She pointed out that young people should be allowed to run for office for them to fully take part in political decision-making in parliaments – in legislating laws and deciding budgets, among others.

However, Barron said that in several countries, the minimum age for eligibility to run for office excludes young people, which prompted the IPU to join hands with the United Nations Secretary General’s Envoy on Youth and other partners to launch the campaign.

“We need your ideas, your thoughts, your dreams, and we need to bring more young people to the IPU. Please keep in mind all these young persons that are having their trust in us, we cannot disappoint them,” Barron said. "Politics and politicians already disappointed our own generation.”

“We need to understand that there are a lot of people – millennials, centenarians, and all these new branding that we are having for the new generation that are feeling frustrated because they are not finding jobs and not able to go to school or to universities,” she added. “The system that we inherited is leaving many young people behind.”

The IPU president also urged legislators to participate in the 130th anniversary of the organisation in June this year and bring the celebration to their parliaments.

“I have received some ideas and some initiatives on how to celebrate IPU at the national level on June 30 – dubbed as the International Day of Parliament,” she said.

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