The presidential election determining the 16th president of the Republic of Korea is imminent. It is no exaggeration to say that the fate of the nation for the next five years will be determined by the result of the election.
A survey was recently conducted by the University Press Association to find out the attitudes of college students towards politics. A total of 2,285 students from 26 universities nationwide participated in this survey. Surprisingly, 74 percent of the respondents did not know when the presidential election will take place. This seems indicative of student indifference toward the election in Korea.
However, there have been some efforts to increase the awareness of the election among college students. Some politically conscious students, mostly from student governments and university newspapers, are forming student organizations and writing special features on the presidential elections.
The National Election Commission (NEC) announced that if there are 2,000 or more registered absentee voters in a university, polling booths can be set up on campus. About 20 universities participated in this movement to get 2,000 absentee voters to register from November 11 to 25. A total of seven universities, including Hanyang, Korea, Yonsei, and Seoul National Universities succeeded in establishing polling booths. The election officials said setting up on-campus polling stations would help enhance the turnout of young voters, which is typically lower than that of older generations.
One of the most recent presidential elections this year was held in Germany on September 22. Gerhard Schroeder was re-elected as Federal Chancellor, the Head of Government a position that is elected for a four-year term with no limitation on re-election. Germans are known to be a conservative people, and no Chancellor has failed to be re-elected for a second term; however, this year"s election was one of the closest races in German history.
Erik Segadlo (Martin Luther University Halle, 3) says, "College student participation is not that high in Germany. I would say about 30 percent of students vote. He believes that many students do show an interest in politics through demonstrations and protests, but it depends on what major you are in. Of the most important factors young people consider when voting," he stated, "I think it is the candidate"s image, as developed th
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