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International Day of Democracy
Côte d'Ivoire Holds Legislative By-Elections - A woman casts her ballot in the legislative by-election in Grand Laho, Côte d'Ivoire. By-elections were organized in eleven of the country's constituencies after irregularities were found in the original vote held on 11 December.

get involved

You have a right to say how much you want to change or reshape your life, your community and country. Whether you are a voter or elected office-holder, use International Day of Democracy to engage positively with political change.

Six ideas to get you started

1

Embrace digital technology

As a legislator, you can strengthen your voice and express yourself more frequently through social media and other digital channels where more and more of your voters are active. In many countries, you can learn quickly about the nature and benefits of new communications technologies and how to use them to connect with your constituents.

2

Seek out your elected representatives

As a voter, you can get tips from your MP on how to strengthen your voice. Parliamentarians are well-versed in many practical and useful matters of political organization. Your city or region will have representatives in parliament who are likely to respond positively to requests for advice and assistance from constituents like you.

3

Request advice on political organization from the experts

When asked, many parliamentarians will help citizens develop political platforms and the skills to campaign democratically for the causes and issues they support. Voters can use more and more online resources to help study how this is done, through real-life examples from different countries and cultures.

4

Illuminate some basic issues of democracy

15 September is a good day to discuss key issues facing democracy. These include how to promote mutual respect and dialogue with opponents, honest governance, accessible and accountable parliamentarians and parliaments, the effective participation of women, the young and minorities in local, regional and national politics, and how to make elected officials more responsive to voters' demands and expectations.

5

What and where: Be creative

Strengthen your voice by speaking up at public events. Sporting events with big crowds are good places for a short International Day of Democracy message. Radio and television broadcasts are especially effective at reaching large audiences, but local print media can also work well. You can raise the profile of International Day of Democracy in your town or village meetings, or perhaps stage a play with song and dance at a festival. Popular concerts are another good way to promote an event, especially if the performers themselves mention it during their performance. You can do this anywhere: out in the open, in schools and other public buildings, in village squares, universities, markets and shopping centres.

6

Make it relevant

International Day of Democracy is best when it reflects the reality of your country, culture and society. Express yourself and your aspirations in your event to mark the day, ideally through specific messages, posters, broadcasts, and publications that speak to your fellow citizens. Please see our Resources page for materials that can be adapted to your situation and distributed as you see fit.

Issues of gender were addressed at a meeting on parliamentary representation in Manchester, United Kingdom. © Parliamentary Copyright, UK Parliament Timor-Leste Holds Parliamentary Elections. Polling officers aid a voter cast her ballot in Timor-Leste’s parliamentary elections. 7 July 2012. UN Photo/Martine Perret
Parliamentarians can help citizens develop political platforms and the skills to campaign democratically for causes and issues.

democracy fact

100

parliaments have celebrated the International Day of Democracy since 2008

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ENGAGING YOUNG PEOPLE: IDEAS FOR ACTION

International Day of Democracy is an ideal time to consider how youth engagement with traditional democratic institutions can be increased. What are your ideas? How can you make a difference?

Practical ideas could include:

  • Aligning the minimum voting age with the minimum age at which candidates can run for office – especially relevant to ensuring the representative quality of parliaments, particularly in countries with high proportions of young people
  • Encouraging civic education in schools and universities – to foster young people’s political participation
  • Parliamentary quota systems – to attract young parliamentarians and to show that parliament is responsive and accessible
  • Involving young people in political parties including through innovative solutions
  • Parliamentarians and leaders seeking to better understand the languages and processes used by young people – including social media and information communication technologies which allow young people to make their voices heard, obtain information and interact with their elected representatives and hold them accountable
  • Talking with young people. Parliamentarians may want to visit local schools to discuss the meaning and practice of democracy, and how young people can get involved. Or take part in an online discussion about the work of a parliamentarian and why it is important for young people to participate in politics.
  • Invite schools to organize activities such as exhibitions, contests and special lessons on democracy
  • Direct engagement – including by allowing space for dialogue between young politicians and young voters to demonstrate the willingness of politicians to engage with youth, to understand them and take them seriously
  • Calls and actions for participation, consultation and representation of youth within both political parties and civil society organizations that foster civic engagement
  • Many countries have created youth commissions, youth parliaments and national and local youth councils – these can be effective channels of cooperation and information exchange between young people, parliaments, national governments, local councils and decision-making bodies

How strong is your voice?

Engaging youth on democracy

Speak up and speak out

Speak up and speak out

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About Democracy

About democracy

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