The alternative report on the position and needs of young people in 2023, presented by the Umbrella Organization of Serbian Youth (KOMS), shows, among other things, that 60 percent of young people think that Serbia needs a strong leader and the one people will follow in big numbers. This is the highest percentage result of this survey, which has been conducted for six years now.
Experts are not surprised by this information, because, as they say, it is a logical consequence of decades of negative tradition and a worrying trend in Serbian society in which the culture of machismo and strength in general is promoted instead of the culture of dialogue. Furthermore, young people here have spent more than half of their lives in an autocracy, but it is encouraging to know that young people value personal freedom, environmental protection, solidarity and assistance to the economically disadvantaged the most, because this indicates that it is possible to work with them on establishing a free and solidarity-based society.
Aleksandar Ljubomirović, the youth representative of the People’s Party, says that the aforementioned data is a reflection of a decades-long negative tradition and a worrying trend in Serbian society, which has unfortunately become accustomed throughout history to strong leaders and the personality cult.
“All this is reflected in today’s youth, who grew up in a society that does not know of an alternative to the autocratic way of governing and to state governance that is based on the division of power. For this reason, the new generation of young and democratic-minded politicians has a historic task to offer young people an alternative and be a guide to the coming generations that positive changes are possible in our society, as well as on the political scene,” he adds.
Biljana Đorđević, an MP from the Ne Davimo Beograd movement, says that the survey results, which do not deviate too much from earlier ones, show that young people do not trust any politicians and state institutions, but also that elections in Serbia are not free and honest. She adds that young people are confused about what is democracy.
“Dissatisfactions that they have in connection with the education system, the value system and the state of the environment cannot be solved by a strong leader, but by exercising real democracy and civil participation”, says Đorđević.
Zoran Lutovac, head of the Democratic Party, says that the survey results are due to two facts.
“One is that we have a traditionally authoritarian political culture and the other is that currently exactly such a model of political culture is being promoted – that is a culture of machismo and power in general instead of a culture of dialogue, a culture of overpowering instead of a culture of understanding. It is promoted through media that have national broadcasting frequency and is transmitted through parents and adults to young people. We live in a cultural matrix in which someone needs to dominate instead of agree and compromise,” Lutovac adds.
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