The Relationship between Kurdish Youth and KRG With reference to Political Participation - By: Nabaz Shwany

Background of the study

Youth is a word that refers to those people who have ability to enter into the mature life. It’s difficult to define youth or specify the age of adolescence or young people. Many people worked in this field, but they couldn’t have one general definition. Therefore, it’s because each states defined youth in its way. We can say Young people are the leader of tomorrow, decision makers and those who have a strong physical ability (NYDI, 2006).World bank defined the youth as a person who is between the age of childhood and adulthood and those who are between the ages of 15 to 25 years (Absolute Astronomy 2009). The age range of youth is varying from one place to another. “The United Nations, for statistical purposes, defines ‘youth’, as those persons between the ages of 15 and 24 years” (UN 1985). But, states like Nigeria defined the youth as those who are 5 to 30, and in Malta it starts from 18 to 30 (NYDI, 2006). However, the youth suffrage starts from 18 years. Thus, means that they can vote according to the international standard. The relationship between youth and governments is a very sensitive topic among people because it directly affects on political changes in society. The relationship between the KRG government and Kurdish youth in reference to political participation is a topic of this study. Youth in Kurdistan are majority, so they have different opinion about the government and politics. Due to the changes that affected youth as a result of media and globalization, they are more likely aware on events of the country, so their relationship with KRG has been changed.

Chapter One


Adolescence in any society are creator of democracy and freedom. Without their roles no revolution can occurs and freedom can not be achieved. Their roles are so active during the issues and significant events. For instance, during the revolution, demonstrations and election campaigns their active roles can be seen. Therefore, it’s because the political parties and the government needs them in those times. So they can be a very crucial tool that government can use them, because they are the heart of society. If we analyse the relationship between Kurdish youth and KRG, we can find youth disappointing for many reason and according to the survey that I conducted majority of the respondent believe that relationship between KRG and youth is bad. Amjed Muhammad the head of the public center of developing youth activity in the interview with Standard newspaper believes that the KRG treatment with youth is not healthy. Also instead of encouraging youth to have better participation on political process, the KRG government looks at youth as “trouble makers” according to him (Ali 2008). Alternatively, government must provide a healthy environment for Kurdish youth and create job opportunities in order they have passions toward their authorities. Then again, youth do not trust government due to their isolation and government corruption. Likewise, the government does not look at young as rational being and they think young people have to be guided and controlled in order to be protected from adverse actions (Ali 2008).

The KRG neglected youth in decision making and political process. In contrast, the KRG governments is entirely run by old people and they make barriers on youth activity and try weaken them (Ali 2008). Therefore, it’s because of power monopoly by old who don’t believe change and fear of their position and seats if young people come to power and participate in government and political parties. Consequently, according to Amjed Muhammad, youth can not overcome those troubles and finally considered as loser while the authorities have an economic power to win over them (Ali 2008). 

Changing in government system is inevitable and sometime it’s necessary to occur. Young must lead those changes, but the changes must be positive and based on some structured goal to promote democracy and equal social and political participation for all age ranges.  It’s not the duty of youth to criticize on government only for lacking of their political participation, but they have to find solution to their issues. So, if KRG does not reflecting their wishes they have to change it through direct or indirect political action such as voting, demonstration and so on. In the last KRG cabinet youth statues and role were very weak.  if we talk about their political participation and their role in the government, its absolutely weak, we can only find two young people in the government high positions one of them is general director who is 29 years old, and other was 33 years and she was a minister of Anfal and martyrs (Jamil 2008). If we look at them according to the United Nations definition of youth, they are not youth (UN 2009). It illustrates, there is no youth in decision making process at KRG. They have to strengthen their relationship with KRG, because if they do not, the government obliged to “work unilaterally without youth participation” (Nawras 2009).

The recent event tells us that the future youth relationship with government will improve with having opposition party in parliament. Moreover, the education system progressed, so KRG no longer can say youth enable to run and can not make decision because today’s youth are academic and conciseness. It was a reason that parliament passed a law to permit 25 years youth to be a member of parliament. Political parties no longer can triumph without youth supports, so they have to contribute them in politics and government.

Significant and Objective of the study

This study is about a very significant issue which is youth relationship with government. Kurdish youth always blame the government, so its importance to find out the reason of those blaming and their participation in politics as the heart of government. I can outline the reasons why this study is very important and its objective as the following:

1-This study aimed to define youth importance in government.
2-This study critically illustrated some facts about weather youth are responsible or government for their weak relationship in reference to political participation.
3-The intension of this study is to evaluate youth existence in KRG and their roles in decision making process.
4-This study is significant because it defined the responsibility and a way that youth and government can strengthen their relationship.
5-This study evaluated youth political participation and the way that they can change.
6-The significant of the study is not only showing the problems, but a guideline for youth and KRG government to improve their relationship particularly in politics.

Scope and limitation of the study

First of all, this research is only about Kurdish youth, not Kurdistani youth that includes Turkmen, Assyrian and others. Also, it talks about the specific times which is aftermath 2003, because the KRG improved since then. Since 2003 many things have changed in Kurdistan, democracy and freedom has been promoted. Therefore the events have impacts on changing youth attitude toward the government. To resolve youth issues and decrease their critics the KRG created youth ministry to attract youth in last cabinet. On the other hand, the opposition group raised and it opens a new door for youth political participation especially during 2008 election. So each groups and political parties tried to win their votes. These are the factors that this research limited to the period of 2009 to 2010.

Secondly, this study is limited within the boarder of Kurdistan and those places that KRG has its power and affects on youth. Also, it wasn’t limited in one place, but it conducted in Erbil, Sulaimanya, Duhok, Kirkuk, Ranya, Choman, Kalar, Barzan, and Soran.

Finally, the study limited to political participation. Means, it doesn’t talked about youth and KRG relationship in economic sphere, culture sphere and son on. In addition, it only showed the issues that relates to politics and nothing else. It wasn’t talks about issues like drug, Kurdish immigration, unemployment, but it concentrated on their relationships on political fields.

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April 1, 2010
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