Tue, May 20, 2014 - Page 3 News List

Interior minister backs young voters

Staff writer, with CNA

A move to lower the nation’s voting age from 20 to 18 was backed yesterday by Minister of the Interior Chen Wei-zen (陳威仁), although such a change would require amending the Constitution, which could be a drawn-out process.

During the legislature’s Internal Administration Committee meeting, Chen said that lowering the voting age was a good concept because it would allow young people to take part in politics earlier.

The ministry held a discussion on the issue in 2011 and most experts and lawmakers attending the meeting were in favor of lowering the voting age, Chen said.

The participants believed the matter should be dealt with by amending the Constitution, he said.

Central Election Commission vice chairman Liu Yi-chou (劉義周) expressed a similar view at the committee meeting.

They were responding to a proposal by Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Ting Shou-chung (丁守中) to lower the voting age. Ting’s office said there were about 640,000 people in the 18-to-19 age group as of the end of March.

In other developments, the committee yesterday passed a preliminary review of an amendment to the Nationality Act (國籍法) that would bar Taiwanese nationals who hold permanent residency in another country from assuming public office.

The proposed amendment, introduced by Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Pan Meng-an (潘孟安) and fellow lawmakers, also stated that public officeholders must take steps to renounce their permanent residency in other countries before their inauguration and provide evidence that they have renounced their permanent residency within one year of their inauguration.

Under the current law, only nationals who concurrently hold citizenship from another country are barred from public office.

KMT Legislator Wu Yu-sheng (吳育昇), who has previously proposed similar bills on this matter, said that barring those holding permanent residency from assuming public office would help ease public doubts about allegiance.

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