Representing just over 66 percent of the Afghan population, by rights a whopping 164 of the 249 parliamentary seats should be filled by young men and women who are under 30. It has been 17 years since the overthrow of the right-winged Taliban, who for too long have held power in Afghanistan’s government. There have been seventeen years of major change in the dynamics of this country where children growing up with the old guard. The old guard have been the majority representatives and have continually led this country into war and destruction.
These same children are now of an age to make a difference by taking their place in the leadership of Afghanistan’s new outlook toward democracy and globalization. Afghanistan is crying, yelling, and talking about it’s new agenda. They want a more tech savvy, educated, and technically-gifted parliament that reflects the real population of Afghan people.
While the 2010 parliamentary election polls saw few under 30s contest seats in the legislature, one under 30 MP made history with his victory in being elected to parliament.
Baktash Siawash’s success in obtaining a seat of power changed Afghan youth mentality so much so that with this October 20 election, there are literally “hundreds of men and women under the age of 30 [that] are this year contesting the 249 seats in the legislature” according to Afghan journalist, Ali Latifi.
Since the fall of the Taliban, and the shift of numbers of youth representing the majority of people in Afghanistan, President Ghani has placed the onus for change on youth. He has told Afghan youth that their goal is to play an active role in national unity. And in doing so, he anticipates they will become the greatest generation in Afghanistan’s modern history.
The results of this October 20 election are about seeing if Ghani’s dream will come true. According to Atta Nasib, a parliamentary candidate under 30 runner, “with the arrival of younger candidates we have seen a renewed hope.”
It is the strength and power of this large youth representation in the populous and in parliament that will end the tyrannical ruling of old strongmen who led the country down into darkness for way too long.
Challenging the status quo, these coming of age youth are well-educated and modernized who are now in a position to take power and lead the country toward the ideal it wants … A modernized Muslim country that is democratic and globally savvy.
President Ghani is right. He has supported and correctly identified HOW this country needs change. It needs to do so through the youth. But, it can start with the legislature. It means a new legislature made up of full representation of the Afghan people and changing laws and policies to reflect the new needs and desires of a democratic nation.