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최종편집 : 2024.04.22 월 19:31
Society & Global
Society & Global Section
 Ji Jae-lim
CBNU, Speaking Out on the General Election
제 214 호    발행일 : 2024.03.11 
The 22nd general election scheduled for April 10th, is only a month away now. Most of the parties are engaged to earn votes from the younger population. ‘Swing voters’ are defined as a small group of voters who may change the candidates and parties they support depending on the issues at hand in every election, and those who decide who or which party to support at the last minute. Recently these swing voters are mostly made up of young people in their 20s and 30s. During their campaigns the various candidates announced policies and pledges to capture the sentiments of the youth, and it was discussed whether these policies and pledges truly resonate with the younger generation and specifically CBNU students.

  Examining the 22nd general election pledges, each political party’s focus was on youth issues and policy promises. Firstly, the Democratic Party of Korea focused on the low birth rate in Korea. The low-birth comprehension plans that the Democratic Party of Korea released for the 22nd general election contains a policy to give a loan of up to one hundred million KRW for a 10 years term to all newlyweds depending on their assets and annual income. Furthermore, the principal and interest will be reduced when they give birth. When they have the first child, all interest will be waved, for the second child half of the principal will be forgiven, and for the third child, the remaining half of the principal will be erased.
  The People Power Party focused on the so-called youth in the blind spot. An “expansion of home care and visiting care” pledge will cover young carers who are having difficulties getting a job and entering school as they have to care for their families due to chronic diseases and other emergencies. Home care and visiting services provided to the family with the elderly who have existing authorized long-term recuperation recipients will be expanded to families with young carers. “every youth happiness” is a pledge to support youth who prepare for self-reliance coming out of care institutions and covers the induction into a school of self-reliance for real-life adaptation before leaving a care institution and supporting individual counselors.
  Rally Point suggests a pledge related to women’s conscription which is currently a hot button issue among the youth. “mandatory conscription of a few public officials’ recruitment” pledge requires those who are hoping to be police officers, firefighter, and prison officers to finish military service. Currently it is impossible for women to serve short term as they can only apply for commissioned and noncommissioned officers, but it is going to be changed so that women can serve as general soldiers. 
  The Justice Party is focused on the life of youth who are in lower positions generally in the labor market. “Expansion of the labor standard law” pledge promises to legally provide off days and paid vacation for short-time workers under 15 working hours per week and those working in small informal companies were less than five people are employed.  The “paying unemployed allowances to voluntary resigner” pledge is about paying allowances to voluntary resigner if they are unemployed over three months as the party had noticed that the job tenure of youth workers is getting shorter because of the low quality of occupations.

CBNU People’s Thoughts of the 22nd General Election

  The interview was conducted with 5 CBNU people Choi namely, Jin-hyeok (graduated School of Business, 17), Sim Yun-seop (Dept. of Political Science and International Relations, 19), Yang Su-a (College of Electrical and Computer Engineering, 21), G (School of Electrical Engineering, 19) and L (Dept. of Korean Language and Literature, 21) to hear what young people think ahead of the 22nd general election. 
The Concerns That Young People Have Nowadays
  Employment, career concerns, and youth are inseparable. All of the interviewees had concerns related to employment and career paths. However, they seemed to all have similar concerns about employment, but they were different because of the polarization between major and minor enterprises, low birth, and aging society.

Yun-seop: As I am a senior, employment is the largest concern I have. Since the gap between major and minor enterprises employees’ welfare and wages is increasing, I hope to get a job in a major or medium enterprise, but I am wondering how to break through that narrow gate.
G: I saw the news that the birth rate in Korea continues to decline, and it will enter a super-aged society from an aged society next year. Accordingly, our society will change a lot in the future. In preparation for that change, I am currently considering what choice to make regarding my career and employment. 

Young people living in rural areas lack access to the capital. This means that the accessibility to international or similar activities are rapidly decreasing as they are mostly held around the capital. Therefore, young people living in the provinces must spend time and money to reach the capital area to gain experience. If the desired career path requires a variety of experiences, the feeling of the gap between the provinces and the capital area becomes even worse.

Su-a: My desired career path takes various activities and experiences, such as external activities and competitions seriously. However, since most of these activities are centered in the metropolitan area, and the burden of transportation and accommodation costs is large, I feel walls and limitations when it comes to experiencing these activities. 

Youth Policies that Youth Wants

  The students said the way to alleviate the centralization of the capital area and the disappearance of the region getting worse is that there should be a lot of quality jobs in the provinces where young people want to get jobs. In addition, they added that the provinces also need as much free leisure space as the capital area.

Jin-hyeok: These days, one of my acquaintances has succeeded in getting a job in the capital area, and is struggling with housing problems. In the capital area, not only housing prices but also leases on a deposit basis and monthly rent are much more expensive than in the provinces, so some youths are reluctant to get a job in the capital area. I hope there will be support for youth who can find quality jobs in the provinces or housing support for those who are employed in the capital area.
G: To keep young people from leaving the countryside, it is necessary to increase a lot of good jobs in that region. Therefore, I think it is necessary to relocate companies and public institutions to the provinces.

Thoughts of Pledges of the 22nd General Election

  As youths are also interested in social changes caused by non-marriage and low birthrates, the “100 million loans for newlyweds” pledge from the Democratic Party of Korea also got attention. Nonetheless, the CBNU people showed their opinion that the pledge will not solve the low birth problem.

Jin-hyeok: The pledge about birthrates, and “100 million loans for newlyweds” from the Democratic Party of Korea seems to stand out. Thus, I hope there will be support that will help raise children in the long term rather than temporary solutions such as decreasing the amount of interest and principal when giving birth to a child.
Yun-seop: For youths, marriage, childbirth, buying their own home, and raising their children are a big economic burden. These cash policies from the Democratic Party of Korea that can ease the economic burden are likely to help youths to some extent. However, if someone gives birth to their first and second children, they might need more support than the current pledge and I hope there will be more concerns and multiple approaches to the low birth rate issue.

Looking Back at the 21st National Assembly and Expectations of the 22nd National Assembly

Jin-hyeok: During the last general and presidential election, I felt a very combative feeling of “us vs. them.” In recent years, both the ruling and opposition parties have put up too many banners slandering each other on the streets, which has earned them antipathy. In this 22nd general election, I hope they will confront each other with good policies for the public, not by slandering each other. In addition, I hope that the 22nd National Assembly will be a parliament that actively reflects and listens to the voices of various people for the sake of the people and the country, rather than dividing according to ideology and ideas.
Yun-seop: What is regrettable about the 21st National Assembly is that it has been engrossed in political strife for four years. The members of parliament focused only on dragging down the president or the head of the other party, pushing back the work for the people. They were wary of extreme supporters and fandom and practiced disagreeing to disagree and double standards. Therefore, what the 22nd National Assembly needs is effective political reform to break these old habits. In addition to populist pledges such as reducing the number of members of the National Assembly, political reforms that can reflect the diverse voices of the people in the National Assembly are urgently needed.
L: Not only the last National Assembly but also the one before that, only fought partisan battles between the ruling and opposition parties rather than serving the country and the people. It was a pity that the practice of objectively criticizing and seeing the other party’s policy first continued, regardless of whether it was right or wrong. This should stop happening from this 22nd National Assembly.
G: I think politics is not a splitting from each other, but a window for connection and communication. Conflicts and confrontations divide society and hinder progress. Our society must develop by embracing diverse opinions. Thus, youths should not be swayed by these divisions and move toward a better future through communication and cooperation.

  What youths want from the 22nd National Assembly is a working National Assembly that does not divide the people by their beliefs, listens to the voices of various people, and makes laws and policies people want. However, it is difficult to feel the appearance of these natural National Assembly in real politics. Political reports in the media encourage political hatred, and the media, which is colored by their political colors, covers the people’s eyes for their safety and benefits.  As Plato said, “One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors.” Although it is not the best, the choice and vote for the least worst is needed. Do not forget that the way to create the politics people want is not indifference and neglect, but active interest and participation.


By Ji Jae-lim | jlim0714@chungbuk.ac.kr
By Song Yu-bin from CBNU Newspaper | 2022060004@chungbuk.ac.kr
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