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Portuguese elections: The youth vote

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Portuguese elections: The youth vote


Young people may have an important say in Portugal’s election. Many are voting for the first time, and they are being wooed by all sides. However, they are traditionally left-leaning, which will please the Socialists; some prefer the conservatives; few are prepared to support the right. But as they weigh up this election, young people admit they’re not usually interested in politics, and are finding it hard to make a choice.

One girl said: “We don’t usually pay much attention to politics, and suddenly we have to decide which candidates to vote for.” Another agreed: “At our age, we don’t have a clear view of politics and politicians. It’s very complicated.” It’s not only complicated; history shows that once they win power, politicians often don’t seem too concerned with youth issues. And that creates apathy. This girl said: “Politicians don’t inspire me with much confidence, but it’s a duty and a right and an obligation. I will vote, then I can criticise.” As in elections everywhere, jobs, education and the environment are things that matter most to young Portuguese. But nearly a quarter of people under-24 say they won’t bother to vote, while of those who will take part, almost one-in-two are doing so with little enthusiasm.

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