June 13 Local Elections
This year's local elections come amid worsening youth unemployment, record low births and a slew of other social issues deeply related to the country's younger generations.
In past elections, the youth vote has been lukewarm at best, but in recent years they've become more active, pushing their issues and interest, and apparently trying to be more vocal this time around.
Jeong-eun Lee has this special report.
There is no shortage of youth-friendly pledges for the upcoming elections, promising more tax breaks, special housing, and even start-up funds.
Rather than waiting for handouts from the older set, some young politicians are throwing their hats into the ring.
In Seoul alone, there are 119 candidates in their 20s or 30s running for local government seats, like Shin Ji-ye of the Green Party.
At 29 years old she's the youngest on the ballot vying to become mayor of the capital city.
"It is time for Korea to see some young politicians emerge. It is time they change up the political scene with their energy and power."
Shin is up against big names, including incumbent Mayor Park Won-soon.
Aside from winner, she says one of her goals is to represent voices and issues often dodged by mainstream politicians over fears of losing support.
"One of my pledges is to cut city funding to places where sexual assaults happen. It's surprising that the issue is not getting enough attention in the elections when the Metoo Movement and hidden camera crimes are causing public uproar."
With recent changes in the country's social and political environment, Professor Kim Hong-kook from Gyeonggi University says the voices of young people are becoming more important than ever.
"Participatory movement among younger generations is getting active these days, after the candlelight movement last year. I hope they will take part in the vote actively and show their strong will to solve social problems."
A recent poll by Gallup Korea indicates that the youth vote this year could have a major impact.
Around 72 percent of 19-year-olds and those in their 20s said they're definitely voting, and among respondents in their 30s, the number was even higher at 84 percent.
Jeong-eun Lee, eFM News.■
Providing news and Press Releases provided tbs / copyright © tbs. Unauthorized redistribution prohibited rants