A constitutional amendment that would see the voting age lowered to 18 from 20 passed a committee review at the legislature in Taipei yesterday.
The Constitutional Amendment Committee approved the amendment, which was cosponsored by the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), the Taiwan People’s Party (TPP) and the New Power Party (NPP), and which seeks to bring the voting age in line with most other democratic nations.
Barring objections or proposed revisions requiring inter-party negotiations, the bill will undergo a second reading later this week.
Fourteen Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) legislators did not attend the meeting as part of an ongoing protest against the DPP for setting the agenda for the 39-member committee in a meeting on Jan. 6 without them being present.
The proposed amendment would grant Taiwanese who are 18 or older the right to vote. It would also pave the way for further legislation to lower the minimum age for running as a candidate in an election from 23 years old.
At a news conference prior to the committee meeting, TPP Legislator Jang Chyi-lu (張其祿) said the three parties had reached a consensus over the issue, despite having minor differences, such as where the amendment should be placed in the Constitution.
Jang said he was looking forward to lawmakers setting aside their differences and making progress with the legislation as soon as possible.
NPP Legislator Chiu Hsien-chih (邱顯智) said the constitutional revision is long overdue, as Taiwan had fallen behind many nations that have lowered the voting age to 18.
Chiu said he hopes the amendment would clear the legislature as soon as possible so it could be put to a vote in a referendum.
The additional articles of the Constitution state that amendments must first clear the legislature with the approval of at least three-quarters of lawmakers present at a meeting attended by at least three-quarters of all the lawmakers.
Based on the current distribution of seats in the legislature, where the DPP holds 61 seats and the KMT holds 39, it would take cooperation between the two main parties for any constitutional amendment to be passed.
If an amendment is approved by lawmakers, it must then be voted on in a national referendum and can only pass if half of all eligible voters cast ballots in favor of its passage.
KMT Legislator Chen Yu-jen (陳玉珍) said that the party supported the initiative to lower the voting age, but it strongly opposed the DPP deciding on the committee agenda without negotiating with the KMT, a move she described as lacking procedural justice.
However, even if KMT lawmakers had been present at the meeting on Jan. 6, it was likely that the committee, in which the DPP holds a majority of 21 seats, would have agreed to the DPP’s favored agenda.
DPP Legislator Chou Chun-mi (周春米) urged the KMT to stop boycotting meetings of the committee and take part in the legislative process.
The US Department of State yesterday criticized Beijing over its misrepresentation of the US’ “one China” policy in the latest diplomatic salvo between the two countries over a bid by Taiwan to regain its observer status at the World Health Assembly, the decisionmaking body of the WHO. “The PRC [People’s Republic of China] continues to publicly misrepresent U.S. policy,” Department of State spokesman Ned Price wrote on Twitter. “The United States does not subscribe to the PRC’s ‘one China principle’ — we remain committed to our longstanding, bipartisan one China policy, guided by the Taiwan Relations Act, Three Joint Communiques, and
FATES LINKED: The US president said that sanctions on Russia over Ukraine must exact a ‘long-term price,’ because otherwise ‘what signal does that send to China?’ US President Joe Biden yesterday vowed that US forces would defend Taiwan militarily in the event of a Chinese attack in his strongest statement to date on the issue. Beijing is already “flirting with danger,” Biden said following talks with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida in Tokyo, in which the pair agreed to monitor Chinese naval activity and joint Chinese-Russian exercises. Asked if Washington was willing to get involved militarily to defend Taiwan, he replied: “Yes.” “That’s the commitment we made,” Biden said. “We agreed with the ‘one China’ policy, we signed on to it ... but the idea that it can be
SUBTLE? While Biden said the US policy of ‘strategic ambiguity’ on Taiwan had not changed, the group targeted China and Russia without naming them Leaders of Australia, India, Japan and the US yesterday warned against attempts to “change the status quo by force,” as concerns grow about whether China could invade Taiwan. The issue of Taiwan loomed over a leadership meeting in Tokyo of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (Quad) nations — the US, Japan, Australia and India — who stressed their determination to ensure a free and open Indo-Pacific region in the face of an increasingly assertive China, although Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said the group was not targeting any one country. The four leaders said in a joint statement issued after their talks
INFORMATION LEAKED: Documents from Xinjiang purportedly showed top leaders in Beijing calling for a forceful crackdown and even orders to shoot to kill Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) yesterday held a videoconference with UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet as she visited Xinjiang during a mission overshadowed by fresh allegations of Uighur abuses and fears she is being used as a public relations tool. The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has been accused of detaining more than 1 million Uighurs and other Muslim minorities in the region as part of a years-long crackdown the US and lawmakers in other Western nations have labeled a “genocide.” China denies the allegations. Bachelet was expected to visit the cities of Urumqi and Kashgar on a six-day tour. The US