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Teenage hopefuls run in local elections

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Kang Dong-yeob, who ran for the ruling Democratic Party of Korea's primary for a county lawmaker seat in Daegu's Dalseong-D District, poses as he registers as a hopeful in this April 19 photo at the Dalseong-gun Election Committee in Daegu. Courtesy of Kang Dong-yeob
Kang Dong-yeob, who ran for the ruling Democratic Party of Korea's primary for a county lawmaker seat in Daegu's Dalseong-D District, poses as he registers as a hopeful in this April 19 photo at the Dalseong-gun Election Committee in Daegu. Courtesy of Kang Dong-yeob

By Jung Da-min

Teenage hopefuls have declared their bids for the upcoming June 1 local elections. It is the first time in the 74-year history of the Public Official Election Act that teens are running for public office.

Last December, the National Assembly passed revisions to the act to lower the age limit for those running for the National Assembly and local assembly elections from 25 to 18.

Kang Dong-yeob, 18, who participated in the ruling Democratic Party of Korea's (DPK) primary for a county lawmaker seat in Daegu's Dalseong-D District, was among those who received media attention. Kang ranked first in open interviews for young hopefuls held early April by the DPK Daegu branch's youth chapter. But in late April, Kang did not pass the party's nomination screening process.

After failing to get the ticket for the local elections, Kang said in recent media interviews that he will continue to seek another opportunity.

"Even though some young hopefuls failed to become the final candidates, our attempts themselves were worthwhile as we could grow as potential candidates," Kang said in an interview with University News Network published on Saturday. "I believe young hopeful's challenges will bring a refreshing shock to the nation's political circles."

Choi Jeong-hyeon, who registered as a hopeful of the main opposition People Power Party to be a city assembly lawmaker representing Namyangju-E District, speaks during an interview with Hankook Ilbo, the sister paper of The Korea Times at a cafe in Namyangju, Gyeonggi Province, in this April 5 photo. Korea Times file
Choi Jeong-hyeon, who registered as a hopeful of the main opposition People Power Party to be a city assembly lawmaker representing Namyangju-E District, speaks during an interview with Hankook Ilbo, the sister paper of The Korea Times at a cafe in Namyangju, Gyeonggi Province, in this April 5 photo. Korea Times file

From the main opposition People Power Party's (PPP) side, Choi Jeong-hyeon, 19, registered as a hopeful to be a local city assembly lawmaker representing Namyangju-E District, in late March. Choi has vowed to solve the city's transportation issues in media interviews.

"A city lawmaker can solve inconveniences local residents are experiencing. . . . Aside from whether I will actually become the lawmaker, I believe I can seek another chance to take on other challenges to become a provincial lawmaker, mayor, National Assembly member or even the president," Kang said in an April 5 interview with Hankook Ilbo, the sister paper of The Korea Times.

There are more teenage hopefuls representing other minor parties such as the Justice Party, or independent candidates, who are participating in the upcoming local elections.



Jung Da-min damin.jung@koreatimes.co.kr


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