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Jan 3, 2022

South Korea drops age bar to 18 to run for parliament

Foreign Affairs News Correspondent

Unidentified escapes from South Korea into North

Now any citizen of South Korea who is 18-year-old can run for National Assembly-the parliament.

A new law was passed making eligibility for national and local elections to 18 years. Earlier it was 25 years. However, the minimum age for presidential candidates remains at 40 years.

As young people had pushed for reducing the minimum age of candidates, the move was proposed by the 36-year-old leader of the conservative People Power Party, South Korea’s largest opposition party in November.

With young voters expected to play a vital role in politics and elections, it is believed that youth participation in politics will make big changes with youngsters’ impact in the South Korean Presidential election to be held in March.

It is to remind here that in 2011 France decreased the age of eligibility for its lower house of parliament to 18 from 23, and the United Kingdom dropped its threshold for the House of Commons and local elections to 18 from 21.

Meanwhile, South Korea’s military said Sunday that an unidentified person crossed the heavily fortified border into North Korea.

The person was spotted at the eastern front of the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) at around 9:20 p.m. local time on Saturday, it said.

However, even troops were dispatched but they were unable to find the person, who crossed the Military Demarcation Line into North Korea, the military official said adding security cameras had earlier captured the person climbing a barbed wire fence at around 6:40 p.m. Saturday, but the guard on CCTV duty had missed it.

To ensure the safety of the person, South Korea sent a message to North Korea but the North hasn’t responded yet, said the official and added further, they were currently working to identify the person and also finding whether the person was still alive or not.

The only divided countries in the world, the two Koreas are split along the world’s most heavily armed border, called the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) where an estimated 2 million mines are peppered inside and near the 248-kilometer-long, 4-kilometer-wide DMZ guarded by barbed wire fences, tank traps and combat troops on both sides.

Even though putting life into death squads about 34,000 North Koreans have defected to South Korea since the late 1990s.