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Magazine digest -- Youth has bigger role in presidential race

Magazine digest -- Youth has bigger role in presidential race

Young Taiwanese are playing a greater role in the presidential campaign for the Jan. 14 election than in previous polls, as both the main political parties -- the ruling Kuomintang (KMT) and the opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) -- try to win the youth vote. According to Ministry of the Interior statistics, there are around 1.2 million first-time voters eligible to take part in the election, while the number of voters aged between 20 and 29 is 3.46 million. To attract voters in this age group, young people have been recruited, either as volunteer workers or even staff members of the campaign teams. Since July, the DPP has launched several youth groups, including the "B Group," which has been conducting small rallies on behalf of the party's presidential candidate Tsai Ing-wen around university campuses and in downtown areas around Taiwan. "Politics is not just for older people; there is still a group of those who are younger and do not feel detached from political issues," said 20-year-old Lo Wen-yun, who is spending 20 hours a week as a volunteer on Tsai's campaign. Lin He-ming, deputy head of the DPP's youth division, also highlighted the use of social networking websites such as Facebook, which is taking place for the first time in Taiwan's presidential elections and can mobilize supporters at low cost. Meanwhile, the KMT has hired a group of people in their 20s and early 30s to run news, new-generation and new media for President Ma Ying-jeou's re-election campaign, including 32-year-old Hsiu Chieh-lin, deputy head of innovation. In past elections, Hsiu said, many young people were not really concerned about public affairs, but responded better to things they feel connected to. Therefore, apart from presenting concerts of its own rock band, the KMT is also using short feature films to illustrate Ma's achievements in an attempt to communicate better with the younger generation. One of these shorts uses a love story to highlight the Ma administration's achievement of increasing the number of countries offering visa-waivers to Taiwan to over 100, and has been watched by over 150,000 users on Youtube. Additionally, over 30 current or former heads and deputy heads of university student associations have set up an independent group with a Facebook campaign to examine each candidates' policies and present their platforms focusing on the needs of young voters. However, with a Nov. 21 poll by the United Daily News showing that only 55 percent of the people in their 20s care about the presidential race and just 69 percent willing to vote, Niu Tse-hsun, an associate professor at Chinese Culture University's Department of Advertising, said young voters are a difficult group to predict. Saying that young people care more about issues that concern them directly, such as how long it will take them to save enough money to buy an iPhone, Niu said younger voters might be influenced by their parents in their choice of candidate or might simply decide to have a day out rather than vote. Although nothing is certain until election day, the participation of the younger generation has brought a new aspect to Taiwan's political landscape. (Global Views Monthly 306)(translated by Kay Liu)


Updated : 2021-06-21 06:04 GMT+08:00