Taiwan likely to pass constitutional amendment lowering voting age to 18

Issue enjoys bipartisan support: Legislative Yuan deputy speaker

Tsai Chi-Chang.

Tsai Chi-Chang. (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The legislature is likely to pass a constitutional amendment to lower the voting age in the new term, which will kick off next week, said Deputy Speaker of the Legislative Yuan Tsai Chi-chang (蔡其昌) on Tuesday (Feb. 19).

Tsai said in a radio interview that some of the constitutional issues were “inevitable” in the new term. Among them, lowering the legal voting age from 20 to 18 has garnered more support from different political parties, said Tsai, adding that he believed the chance [of passing the amendment] is very high.”

Recently, small parties, including the New Power Party and Taiwan People’s Party, have called for legislative reform of the legal voting age. NPP Legislator Chiu Hsien-chih (邱顯智) has said more and more Taiwanese young people have been engaging with politics in recent years. Young people’s high civic-participation reflects their maturity and they should hence be given the right to vote, he said.

Taipei City Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲), who currently chairs the TPP, has voiced support for his party legislators’ campaign to advocate a lowered voting age. The majority of countries around the world have set 18 as the legal voting age, and in Taiwan, people over 18 years-old should be rendered the same right, said Ko, especially when an 18 year-old is considered an adult in criminal proceedings, he continued.

The deputy Legislative Yuan speaker, whose Democratic Progressive Party won a majority in the legislative elections earlier this year, said the party has always endorsed a constitutional amendment to lower the voting age. Amendments to the constitution have to cross a high bar, Tsai said. This particular issue, however, has achieved consensus in the bipartisan legislature, he observed.

Other constitutional issues that could be brought to discussion in the legislature include the proposal to make defunct the Control Yuan and Examination Yuan, backed by the NPP.