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Danish and Egyptian Political Youth Preparing for Local Elections

Last week, 24 youth politicians from Denmark and Egypt gathered for a seminar in Northern Jutland, Denmark, to look in to the Danish local democracy and government structure and dynamics. During the seminar, the Networks visited the local municipality of Struer, the Danish Social Democratic Annual Party Congress and the Egyptian Ambassador to Denmark, among many other things.

The Network

The Danish-Egyptian Political Part Youth Network is a 4 year old cross-political programme and consists of youth politicians of different political and ideological background from both Denmark and Egypt. Some of them have been part of the network since its origin in 2012, just after the Egyptian revolution, and several of them was part of the enormous youth uprising that led to and fought for the revolution.

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Photo: Network during a seminar session

Local Election and Government

The network was established in 2012 and has focused on many different issues from a youth political perspective. At a meeting earlier this year in Aswan, Egypt, the network decided to focus on local government and local election, because of the upcoming 2017 local elections in both Denmark and Egypt. Furthermore, a greater restructuring of local government is on its way in Egypt, and the political party youth representatives wanted to learn more about the Danish structure, to inspire their input to this process. Egyptian participant, Mohammed Soliman, explains as follow: ”We are in the process of having municipal election in Egypt in 2017, so it is enriching for us to have this experience in Denmark in order for us to see how the system works, so we can take this back with us to Egypt”.

The network visited the municipality of Struer, where the mayor, Mads Jakobsen(form the Liberal party), showed the members the local library, which also functions as the citizens’ entry point to the local government and administration. The Mayor also invited the members to city hall, where he gave an in-depth presentation on the structuring of local government and democracy.

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Photo: Struer Mayor, Mads Jakobsen(V), presenting Danish local governance sturcture 

Mads also gave a good insight into the tradition of coalition building and cross-political cooperation in Danish politics: “we make better political decisions if the whole council is behind it, instead of a small majority. I am from the Liberal Party, but I am the Mayor of the whole council and the whole Municipality”. He then explained how he had gained the support to his budget from all political parties represented: “it is not like everybody agree on everything, but there is something for everybody”.

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Photo: Struer Mayor, Mads Jakobsen(V), talking to two of the Egyptian participants

Social Democratic Party Congress

On Friday, the network attended the opening ceremony of the Danish Social Democratic Annual Party Congress. This included the opening speech of the party leader Mette Frederiksen, the speech from the Norwegian Labor Party Leader, Jonas Gahr Støre, and from the leader of the Danish Social Democratic Youth, Lasse Quvang Rasmussen.

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Photo: Party Leader, Mette Frederiksen, opening the Party Congress in Aalborg

Later on, the Deputy Secretary General of the party, Matias Bredde, gave a presentation on the organisation of the party, and MP, Peter Hummelgaard, explained and debated the party’s stand on different political issues such as refugees and the EU, with the network members.

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Photo 1: Social Democratic Party Leader, Mette Frederiksen and network member, Tamer Samy

Photo 2: Egyptian delegation at the Social Democratic Party Congress. 

 Meeting the Egyptian Ambassador and the Political Youth Branches

Back in Copenhagen on Saturday, the network was kindly invited to meet the Egyptian Ambassador to Denmark to discuss the network and political and cultural exchange between the two countries.

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Photo: Danish-Egyptian Political Party Network and the Egyptian Ambassador to Denmark

Later on, three of the Egyptian members gave a public presentation on themes such as the issue of sexual harassment in Egypt and the role of social media during the 2011 revolution. The public meeting wash primarily attended by members of the Danish political party youth branches.

For more information

Contact Project Coordinator Mathias Parsbæk Skibdal: maps@dipd.dk

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