Mon, Mar 08, 2004 - Page 3 News List

Presidential candidates look to win youth vote

CNA , TAIPEI

Both the pan-green camp of President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) and the pan-blue alliance of Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman Lien Chan (連戰) have pulled out all the stops to try to win the votes of Taiwan's younger generation.

The two camps have been particularly targeting the 1.5 million young men and women who have turned 20 within the past four years and will be eligible to vote in a presidential election for the first time.

With the March 20 presidential election only days away, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) is holding campaign activities aimed at attracting younger voters, while the opposition KMT is trying to attract young voters with policy promises.

The DPP has in the past pushed for legislation to lower the minimum voting age to 18, and each year it holds a "young leaders camp" in an effort to try to consolidate its support among young people. It has also sponsored other activities for young people, such as radio talk shows aimed at younger listeners, said Chiu Tai-san (邱太三), a DPP legislator who is one of the major figures behind the party's efforts to attract young voters.

Lin Chun-you, deputy director of the DPP Department of Youth Affairs, said yesterday that all recent public opinion polls have shown that the DPP is leading in support as well as approval ratings among young voters.

Lin, meanwhile, lashed out at Lien for his recent platform of pushing for military service reform, noting that Chen has advocated a step-by-step reform of military service over the past four years.

Lin said Lien's latest policy stance on the issue contains no new ideas and "is just a scheme to try to win votes."

Lien on Saturday reiterated his military service reform plan in which he promised to reduce the length of compulsory military service to three months and create a fully professional military made up of 120,000 troops, 80,000 officers and non-commissioned officers, and 50,000 graduates of military schools.

Lin Yi-shih (林益世), a KMT legislator and director of the KMT Department of Youth Affairs, claimed that the DPP's support and approval ratings among Taiwan's young voters have been dropping fast as the general public has become disillusioned with the administration over the past four years.

Lin said that despite the DPP's "deep plow" among young voters, the pan-blue alliance has been gaining support among this group of voters.

Citing a recent KMT survey, Lin said that the pan-blue alliance presidential ticket's support rating among people aged between 25 and 40 has surpassed that for the pan-green camp.

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