Paradoxically or not, older voters have a better turnout at elections in Serbia historically speaking, than the younger ones. Research shows that the most loyal and disciplined voters are over 65 years old (around 70 percent are regular voters), while the lowest turnout is among young people – around 50 percent.
Political analysts say that politicians would have to significantly change their approach to young people, as well as the messages they are conveying, in order to motivate adults under 30 to vote.
Bojan Klačar, executive director of CESID, notes that young people between the ages of 18 and 24 are becoming less and less interested in politics.
“They are in a phase of life when they have different priorities, as they are more interested in fun and being concerned with issues that young people have to deal with, rather than demanding and difficult topics. They aren’t even mature enough to understand all the particulars of politics,” explains Klačar.
Also, young people have drastically changed their media consumption habits.
“You can’t approach them in a conventional way, as older politicians are used to, through public forums, street stands and TV appearances. Young people are now dispersed on the Internet and therefore politicians need better expertise and knowledge for their messages to reach the younger population,” Klačar adds.
“Election campaigns are more directed to older people for the simple reason that they know that most of the population falls into the 45 to 50 age bracket. Also, people over 60 make up a fifth of the population and they have proven to be disciplined and loyal voters,” he adds.
Nikola Parun, a political scientist, shares a similar opinion.
“Politics is not particularly interesting to young people, especially since they do not see any differences between political stakeholders in Serbia. Most young people, especially those in high school and university, are still not in the labour market, so they do not feel the consequences of the election results. Also, they still don’t have families of their own or children. Because of all this, many have resistance to politics,” Parun assesses.
He adds that the election turnout among young people in Europe is also not very high.
“I think it doesn’t exceed 60 percent, which means that the disinterest of young people in elections is not only typical of Serbia. In general, young people prefer more radical politics, whether identity-based or extremely civic-minded. Also, young people prefer revolution to evolution, which is logical for their age,” Parun says.
As many as 65 percent of young people are willing to vote, according to research by the umbrella youth organization, KOMS, but this does not mean that young people are satisfied with what is offered to them. They are mostly disinterested, apathetic and apolitical. Analyses of young people’s attitudes towards politics are becoming bleaker every year, according to the KOMS data.
“Young people do not believe that they can cause any changes or influence what decisions state institutions will make. When we ask young people is that so, they say because the same people have been in power for 20, 30 years. They can’t identify themselves with these politicians and want to see new faces,” KOMS points out.
However, the latest data show that 65 percent of young people are willing to vote, which is a ten percent increase compared to the previous year.
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