Report exposes lack of young Swiss politicians

Andri Silberschmidt was 25 when he entered the House of Representatives in 2019, the youngest person ever to be elected to the chamber. Here, he is speaking last month. Keystone / Alessandro Della Valle

The global proportion of parliamentarians under the age of 30 has risen by 0.4 percentage points over the past two years to 2.6%. In the Swiss House of Representatives the figure is 4%, putting it 33rd position overall.

This content was published on April 22, 2021 - 18:04

With half of the world’s population under 30, the Geneva-based Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) said its reportExternal link published on Thursday highlighted a sizeable deficit in the political representation of young people worldwide.

“To deliver for the people, democracy must represent all the people,” said the organisation’s president, Duarte Pacheco. “We need more young women and men parliamentarians to make parliaments more effective, innovative and inclusive.”

The report, the fourth in the series and based on data from 2020, said the countries with the youngest parliamentarians tended to have made concerted efforts to engage young people in politics (for example, Norway and Djibouti). They also tended to have low ages of eligibility to run for office (for example, Denmark and Sweden).

In unicameral chambers or parliaments, Norway leads the way, with more than 13.5% of politicians aged under 30.

In the Swiss House of Representatives, the share rose by 2.5 percentage points to 4%, but it is still only 33rd. No member of the Senate was under 30 last year.

Among those under 40, the advance since 2018 is just over six points in the House of Representatives, at just over 25%, and just over four points in the Senate, at 13.4%.

While male politicians outnumber their female counterparts in every age group, data shows the proportion of women is higher in younger age groups. They make up 60% of the under-30s – in Switzerland it’s even slightly more.

The Inter-Parliamentary Union

The IPU is the global organisation of national parliaments. It was founded more than 130 years ago as the first multilateral political organisation in the world, encouraging cooperation and dialogue between all nations.

Today, the IPU comprises 179 national Member Parliaments and 13 regional parliamentary bodies. It promotes democracy and helps parliaments become stronger, younger, gender-balanced and more diverse. It also defends the human rights of parliamentarians through a dedicated committee made up of MPs from around the world.

Twice a year, the IPU convenes over 1,500 parliamentary delegates and partners in a world assembly, bringing a parliamentary dimension to global governance, including the work of the United Nations and the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

(Source: IPU)

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