Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Hung Sun-han (洪申翰) on Saturday said that lowering the voting age in Taiwan to 18 is about equity and keeping up with the times, urging people to vote in favor of the proposal later this month.
A referendum on whether to amend the Constitution and lower the voting age from 20 to 18 is to be held alongside the local elections on Nov. 26. While all major political parties support the proposal, there is still a chance that it could fail, as it requires majority support among those eligible to vote — not just 50 percent of the ballots cast. That means it requires about 9.65 million votes in its favor to pass.
During a televised forum, Hung said that young people have made major contributions to Taiwan in areas such as science, technology and sports, and have been involved in each stage of the country’s transition to democracy.
Photo courtesy of the Central Election Commission
Within three years, Taiwan is likely to become a super-aged society, with 20 percent of its population aged 65 or older, Hung said during a presentation — the only one at the forum.
While this is expected to put a greater social burden on the younger generation, they would have little influence at the polls unless the voting age is lowered, he said.
“We need to allow young people to participate in policymaking, and we must ensure that our society does not fall into a crisis of generational inequality,” Hung said.
Taiwan is one of only 10 democratic countries in the world that still has a minimum voting age of more than 18, and the only one where the age is 20, he said.
Passage of the referendum would not only put Taiwan on track with current international trends, but would also help draw a sharp contrast with China, which recently amended its constitution to allow Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) to serve for life, Hung said.
Changing the voting age would be a step forward for democracy, Hung added.
No opposing opinions on the referendum were presented during the forum, as there appeared to be no organized campaign against the proposal.
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