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Assembly passes bill on lowering age of candidacy for parliament to 18

The National Assembly on Friday passed a bill that lowers the age of candidacy for parliament and local elections from 25 to 18.

Under the bill, which is expected to be endorsed by the Cabinet next month, anyone aged 18 and above can run for a seat in the National Assembly starting with the by-elections slated for March 9, when the presidential election will be held simultaneously.

At least five seats will be up for grabs in the 300-seat Assembly.

The bill passed 204-12, with 10 abstentions.

This is the first time the age of candidacy has been lowered since the country's Constitution was established in 1948.

The revision recently gained momentum as both the ruling and opposition parties pushed to appeal to young voters and increase their political participation ahead of the presidential election.

The minimum age for a presidential candidate will remain unchanged at 40.

The bill's passage also comes ahead of local elections slated for June.

The rival parties scheduled Friday's plenary session specially to handle this and other key items, such as extending the deadline of a special parliamentary committee handling media reform by five months until May 29. (Yonhap)