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Splinter group lawmaker urges set stance on lowering voting age

All Headlines 10:20 January 11, 2017

SEOUL, Jan. 11 (Yonhap) -- Rep. Yoo Seong-min, a presidential hopeful from a conservative splinter party to be launched this month, urged his colleagues on Wednesday to set a clear position on proposed election law revisions to allow 18 year olds and overseas Koreans to vote in the upcoming presidential election.

Conservatives have been reluctant to lower the minimum voting age by a year, as polls show the younger generation tends to be more supportive of liberal parties. Accordingly, support from the new group that split from the ruling Saenuri Party is crucial to meet the requirement for the revision to be passed at the parliament.

"Regarding the voting age issue, we caused confusion by initially setting our position and then reversing it. Though some lawmakers are still opposed, I hope the party will come to a clear conclusion on the issue through free votes or other means," Yoo said.

Yoo also urged the party to set its stance on granting more than 2 million overseas Koreans the right to vote in the election this year. Current law allows them to only participate in presidential elections triggered by a presidential vacancy that occurs in 2018 and after.

The planned party, which was earlier tentatively named the New Conservative Party for Reform, adopted Barun (righteous) Party as its official name. It has not yet decided on its official English name.

South Korea may hold an early presidential election, which is originally scheduled for December 2017. If the Constitutional Court upholds the parliamentary impeachment of President Park Geun-hye, the country has 60 days to pick a new leader.

Rep. Yoo Seong-min, one of potential presidential candidates from a conservative group that spun off from the ruling Saenuri Party. (Yonhap)

colin@yna.co.kr
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