Opportunity for young Roma as leaders of Roma political parties in the RM


Taken from http://romalitico.wordpress.com

We must do all that we can, to give our children the best education and social upbringing – for while they are the youth of today, they shall be the leaders of tomorrow. 

– John F. Kennedy

President of USA

1917 – 1963


While searching for an adequate definition about politics, we can find various definitions from different historic periods. Up to the 19th century, the philosophers defined it as a skill for governance, which was related to warfare, conquest and superiority of nations.[1] The modern defining of politics started in the 20th century and it was directed toward institutional governance and maintenance of law and order in the state.[2] The different types of political regimes and ideologies influenced the understanding and definition of politics and political processes. Throughout the history of social development, a division of ideals and the way of political persuasion appears. The organized groups of like-minded political processes and the way of governance and understanding of society are institutionalized through political parties.

According to Schreyer и Schwarzmeier political parties develop depending on the structure of the membership in the electoral districts, social structure, organizational structure, goals of the party, ideologies, access to the political system and access to the governance.[3] This division in the democratic system of governance, as a most effective way of ruling, improves parties’ profiles so that they would compete for the citizens’ trust. Political parties use different methods in order to gain voters’ trust and to represent their interests.

Since the independence of the country, non-Roma political parties participate in decision making and in the influencing of the progress of Macedonia. In the country, the Macedonian parties create power in coalition with the Albanian parties or move into opposition.[4] From the foregoing classification of parties, Macedonian and Albanian parties vary in their ideologies, structures, access to the political system and the social structure, which makes the political scene of better quality and more competent. There are ideological parties in both blocks which have the greatest and continuous impact and most of the electorate belongs to such parties.

In the process of democratization, the Roma in the country got a right to participate in the political advancement of the state since the independence of the Republic of Macedonia. As a community, the Roma were represented by a political party which over the years fragmented into new political entities, but there are also new Roma political parties emerging with new leaders in the state.[5] In defining of the political parties, Roma political parties are defined as ethnic-based parties with the main purpose to promote the ideals and values ​​of the community with traditional leadership which aims to be in a coalition with the majority parties. The utilization of the capacity of young people is a long-term and a sustainable plan for Roma parties to be competitive and persistent entities in the political scene of the state, generating new leaders and a permanent structure.

The participation of youth in the political parties in Macedonia

Throughout the history of civilization, the youth has always represented hope for the survival and future of society as a key factor for improving its stability and existence. The future of society is considered to be the most dependent on future generations who assume the role of the elderly.[6] But some philosophers do not share the same opinion and critically comment on future generations in the society, arguing that if young people are not prepared to take the role of the elderly and show more knowledge and skills for the new challenges, then a major threat occurs to the continuation of the already commenced or what the society requires of them. In a democratic society, the young people are expected to take the values ​​and traditional democratic practices in order to participate with the older generations in the maintenance of the democratic processes. Young people in the democracy are a pillar for regeneration of the civic and social values.

In “The Republic” [7], Plato argues that the success of the state also depends on the education of the young people who should aim to implement the adequate regime in the state, which does not have to be a democratic one. In his “Politics” [8], Aristotle points to the importance of human behavior in politics and the politics as part of human behavior, highlighting good examples of the human behaviors and policies. Democracy, as a regime, encourages the participation of the people by including young people to participate in or influence decision making.

Political parties often involve young people in youth activities or youth organizations where they practice political skills and enhance the vision of the political party. Youth organizations play a major role in the creativity and inventiveness of the parties in their decisions on youth policies and the impact of future policies on youth. Political parties also include the youth in academies for political skills where they practice the values of ​​the ideologies or the profile of the political party. The academies strengthen the democratic capabilities and capacities for using the management tools in democracy. The academies aim to generate new leaders who will be prepared for future political engagement. The majority parties in the Republic of Macedonia successfully implement their political academies (schools) and promote their ideology with new capacities in their parties. The Political Academy of Social Democracy [9] the auspices of the Friedrich Ebert Foundation promotes social democratic values ​​and politically educate future capacities of the parties that are left-wing, while the political academy for demo-Christian and conservative ideology [10] the auspices of the Konrad Adenauer Foundation and the Pavel Shatev Institute also promotes conservative and demo-Christian values ​​and politically educates future capacities of the right-wing parties in the Republic of Macedonia.

Participation of young Roma in Roma political parties in the Republic of Macedonia

Throughout the years, after the independence of Macedonia, the Roma in the country were represented by multiple parties. The Roma political parties are represented as ethnically based parties that should aim to have the needs of the electorate i.e. the community. The multiparty system in the country has encouraged Roma leaders to exercise their democratic skills in the political arena and the people to elect who will represent their demands. Ethnically based parties have more freedom in defining their goals and priorities because the electorate creates the direction of the party and the leaders are spokesmen of their priorities. The fragmentation and the creation of new Roma political parties, besides the division of the electorate, also caused a division of interests and priorities. Besides their congresses that take place once a year (and some not at all), the youth organizations that are activated before the election and their rallies, the Roma political parties do not show other activities in order to win the interest of the citizens. Traditional leaders know the recipe of success in elections and find a way to secure the desired function. After the elections, the function and workload makes leaders inaccessible for the interests and the needs of the voters. The lack of proper analysis and research on the work of the Roma political parties and their youth organizations, programs, structures, ideologies and statutes reduces the interest in voters, especially in young voters who are not involved in decision making processes or in influencing parties’ decisions.

Young Roma are limited in their political activities and actions due to the party’s indifference to restore and maintain the political capacity. The Roma political parties control the ambitions of young Roma who should take over the role of leaders in the Republic of Macedonia. The principles of the Ohrid Framework Agreement inadvertently “authorized” Roma political parties to govern the capacities and to be the largest “employer” of the perspective young Roma. Thereby, Roma political parties employ young Roma who must obey the decisions of the leader of the party that employed them.

Due to the fear of the 29.9% unemployment in the country [11], young Roma accept the offer of the parties to be employed as civil employees and in return they participate in election campaigns of the parties. The creativity and inventiveness the Roma parties is determined by the leader, the coalition partner from the majority parties determines the leader of the Roma parties, the coalition interests and priorities are determined by the leader of the majority party. Then the young Roma in the youth organizations are needed as a mechanism for campaigns and a generator of votes for the Roma political parties with the hope for an employment. The traditional leadership of the Roma political parties in the state created a monopoly of voters who vote because they have to and not because they want to. Since the independence of the country, the Roma parties “successfully” coalition with the majority parties and were present in decision-making in the shade. Throughout the years new capacities and new parties developed that offered the same thing.

The young leaders did not have the opportunity to follow good behavior examples in politics and to understand the cause of the politics for Roma as a human behavior. The Roma political parties forget the academies as a potential generator of new leaders in the parties, where young Roma would have the opportunity to practice democratic values, to debate the political program of the party, to influence the decisions from a higher ranking and to present this in a transparent manner. Then the Roma parties would invest in the sustainability and the success of their parties, the workload would be shared and the young Roma would significantly contribute in the development of the political culture.


Politics is a necessary element in the society for maintaining the social harmony in the country, while the young represent the hope for continuation, maintenance or modification of the already ongoing processes in the society. The maintenance of social harmony in the state is created by the political parties, especially those represented in parliament. Political parties also aim to represent the interests and demands of the voters who opted for the given political option. Political parties in the direction of a long term political plan, in order to maintain the continuity of their influence and power, invest in the capacities of young people who would be willing to continue the political processes in the same parties. While the majority political parties in the Republic of Macedonia nurture a mechanism of creating and maintaining of a new capacity in their political structures through: political academies, youth organizations, scholarships for successful students with tendencies for a political engagement, the Roma parties are lost in the political space and often direct their challenges towards the ideological axis and the program activities which should be presented to the electorate in a transparent and visible way. Not defining the values ​​and interests of the Roma political parties in the Republic of Macedonia is the biggest burden in all of these past years from which they cannot get rid of. The political culture of the majority allows conscious understatement and ignorance of the democratic fouls on the overall democracy in the state because the Roma political bloc is a part of that milieu. The political culture of the Roma allows a level of understanding the policy and identification of the Roma political parties as part of a coalition who have a small impact on state’s “high” politics, and therefore the voters expect little results that would saturate the needs of the “most active in sticking the election posters “. Traditional Roma leaders need to be ready to meet the demands of the new generations of young Roma who are ready to advance their political skills and to get politically engaged in the future in order to generate a new capacity that will be competent to compete for the citizens’ confidence by practicing democratic values. However the rudimentary machiavellianism still remains a present feature of the Roma political bloc, explaining the ambitious politicians as leaders who firstly secure their position and then begin to eliminate all competitors for the leadership position.


[1] More information on http://www.constitution.org/mac/prince.pdf (last checked on July 27, 2013)

[2] More information on http://online.sfsu.edu/sguo/Renmin/June2_system/Political%20System_Easton.pdf (last checked on July 27, 2013)

[3] Schreyer, Bernhard; Schwarzmeier, Manfred, (2000) “Grundkurs Politikwissenschaft: Studium der politischen Systeme – Eine studienorientierte Einführung”, VS Verlag fur Sozialwissenschaften

[4] [4] Daskalovski, Zidas, (2006) “Between the political convenience and equal opportunities” Association for Democratic Initiatices, pages  45 – 56

[5] More information on: http://romalitico.wordpress.com/2013/03/16/улогата-на-ромските-политичките-парт/

[6] Utter, H., Glenn (2011) “Youth and political participation”, ABC-Clio, LLC

[7] More information on http://www.idph.com.br/conteudos/ebooks/republic.pdf (last checked on July 27, 2013)

[8] More information on http://socserv.mcmaster.ca/econ/ugcm/3ll3/aristotle/Politics.pdf (last checked on July 27, 2013)

[9] http://www.fes.org.mk/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=85%3Afourth-political-academy-for-social-democracy-2011&catid=53%3A2011&Itemid=77&lang=mk

[10] http://a1on.mk/wordpress/archives/46433

[11] State Statistical Office, (2013) “Active population in the Republic of Macedonia Poll Results for Labour Force” I quarter of 2013

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