Political Parties in Action. Involving Youths in the Activity of Parties: the Example of the 2005 Local Elections
The current stabilization or even decline in party membership indicates the end of a mass party era.
Political parties are facing problems recruiting members and potential candidates. The downtrend in membership is forcing political parties to pay more attention to their youth organizations and attract possible members already at an early age. In order to create a future political elite, parties have to motivate young members first of all to sign up for local elec-tions. Placing young candidates on a party list may not be the key element for winning the elections, but it does show whether a party is engaged in systematic development work within the organization and looking ahead towards future campaigns.
The thesis examines candidate selection in six of the largest parties in Estonia during the 2005 local election. The main purpose is to compare youth representation in party lists and in parties’ regional boards, which are the main candidate selection bodies of Estonian political parties. In order to analyze the future potential of the parties and the effectiveness of youth work, I presented comparisons on demographic, geographical and on party’s platform di-mension.
A close study revealed that youth representation in parties’ lists is higher in larger munici-palities where more effective party offices and political youth organizations exist.
In conclusion it can be said that the results of the research confirmed the writer’s hypothesis. The proportion of youth involvement in parties’ regional boards affects youth representation in party’s election lists.