The legal age for people’s eligibility to be elected in general elections and local elections is set to be lowered from the current 25 years of age to 18, effective from the by-elections to be conducted together with the presidential election in March, and local elections in June. The legal age for election eligibility is being lowered for the first time in 73 years since the founding of the Republic of Korea in 1948.
The National Assembly held a plenary session on December 31 and passed an amendment to the election law to lower the legal age for election eligibility to 18 in a vote by 226 lawmakers, with 204 for and 12 against the bill, and 10 others abstaining. According to the amendment, high school senior (12th grader) who celebrated his or her birthday by the election day will be eligible to run in the general elections or local elections.
The bill passed subcommittee and general meetings of the special subcommittee on political reform on December 18, and the Legislation and Judiciary Committee on Thursday in succession. Rival parties apparently raced to pass the bill to garner votes from people in their 20s and 30s, who have emerged as casting votes in the upcoming presidential election. However, unlike the general elections and local elections, the legal age for eligibility for the presidential election, for which only people aged 40 and older are eligible to run, has not been revised.
Hoon-Sang Park firstname.lastname@example.org