Ukrainian-born actress votes for first time in life in Taiwan

Bakurova prepared for months, spent only 5 minutes voting

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Larisa Bakurova at the polling station Saturday (photo from Larisa's Facebook page).

Larisa Bakurova at the polling station Saturday (photo from Larisa's Facebook page).

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Ukrainian-born model and actress Larisa Bakurova voted for the first time in her life Saturday (Jan. 11) in Taiwan’s presidential and legislative elections.

Bakurova, 34, never had the opportunity to vote in her native Ukraine because she was too busy working, reports said.

Five years ago, she married a Taiwanese citizen, Mike Li, then had a daughter with him three years ago. She finally obtained Taiwanese nationality last year, allowing her to vote in elections on the island.

She was so nervous that she only slept three hours Saturday morning. However, once at the polling station, she only spent five minutes inside voting, she told reporters.

In the Ukraine, her mother needed three to four hours to vote, Bakurova said, expressing her admiration for the efficiency of Taiwan’s democracy.

It had taken her several months of homework, though, to understand the island’s political scene, with a frequent diet of television news and talk shows as an essential element, Bakurova said, adding that she had been watching more political programs than movies.

While many people asked her about her political preferences, she refused to answer them because she considered her election choices as a private matter, the Liberty Times reported.

An estimated 19 million Taiwanese are eligible to elect a president, vice president, and 113 legislators Saturday, with final results expected to be known by 10 p.m.