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Ponta Delgada ,  July 14, 2009

Government promotes dialogue with youth and “Voting is easy” campaign to fight against abstention

Government promotes dialogue with youth and “Voting is easy” campaign to fight against abstention

"The Government of the Azores has been working on new forms of communication, which will soon be available to all youngsters in the Region,” said Andrew Bradford, the Regional Secretary for the Presidency, at the ceremony in which a protocol with the Portuguese Institute for Youth was signed to implement the "Voting is Easy" (Votar é Fácil) campaign in the Azores.

The Secretary who administers the Youth area in Government of the Azores considered that "nowadays, the processes of active participation in the society are clearly different, for better, than the traditional ones." He added that “the information is easily available, circulating much more quickly in various forms and through the use of platforms that are virtually suitable for all kinds of predispositions, skills and capacities.”

Despite this recognition, André Bradford underlines that "paradoxically, our societies, especially the democratic, globalised and high tech ones, are experiencing a serious problem of civic participation and, above all, of political participation."

The Regional Secretary acknowledges that "the citizens’ mission, while civic agents and fundamental politicians, is much easier than it was ever been historically," but he regretted that “there is a gradual and severe exclusion of the common citizen regarding the participation mechanisms in policy-making, particularly in voting.”

For André Bradford the political participation which is wider and more supported than ever, by law, "seems to have become a social burden, a heavy consequence of living in society, a bureaucratic duty, instead of being a fundamental dimension of citizenship and a fundamental key to support the life project of each citizen.”

Mentioning the failure observed in the European elections last June, where 8 in 10 Azoreans entitled to vote did not attend the polls, while the average electoral participation across the EU reached 43% with the contribution of young voters, the Regional Secretary for the Presidency also stressed that "other generations have fought for the right to be heard.” "We belong to a time when many give up the power to choose, to influence the decision and actively participate in the collective future of the community where they belong to.”

 Given the available data, André Bradford says they are a "reason to do everything which is within our reach to reverse a situation that corrodes democracy in its essence - the right to choose." In addition, the Secretary stated that with "this participation averages, the legitimacy of elected politicians is naturally affected, the system loses political-institutional support and encouragement, and the gap between those who decide and who is merely a passive recipient of the measures and decisions becomes unsustainable."

The Government of the Azores is aware of this phenomenon and the department that administers the youth area is working to "understand what is wrong at the communication level with the electorate, especially with young people, in order to devise participation strategies, a more effective action and a greater social efficiency.” In this context, André Bradford makes "the commitment," but reminds that "it is the society that must be summoned for this mission."

"We do not believe that youngsters are alienated from society or indifferent to the joint effort to develop the Azores. We do not have this negative image. We have, indeed, the awareness that, together, we need to do more to bring the youth closer to the decisions of public interest,” stressed André Bradford.

To meet this challenge, the Secretary for the Presidency considers that the "creation of new forms of dialogue to make youngsters feel part and responsible for a project of civic improvement and citizenship which ultimately belongs to all is fundamental” and he indicates that "by bearing in mind this goal, the Government of the Azores has been working on new forms of communication, which will soon be available to all youngsters in the Azores.”

"At the present moment, the Government of the Azores is working on the implementation of SIJA - Information System for Azorean Youngsters - which, in its digital component, estimates the implementation of direct communication channels through worldwide-known platforms that are largely used, such as Facebook, Hi5, Twitter or YouTube, among others, so that all the information can ‘become immediately’ available; therefore, establishing a more direct and accessible presence among youngsters,” said André Bradford.

"With this effort we expect that the Azorean youngsters will able to make their doubts and opinions known to us. Hence, the Regional Directorate for Youth will provide the most relevant information for the share knowledge, creating partnerships with the Azorean youth,” the Regional Secretary for the Presidency added.


Official government press-releases presented in all foreign languages interfaces of the Azorean Government Portal (Portal do Governo dos Açores) are a sub-set of the government's official press-releases daily output and are chosen for translation and publication on the foreign language interfaces based on audience segmentation criteria. The entire collection of the Azorean government press-releases is available in portuguese, here, from the GACS Press Office site.

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