Mon, Mar 11, 2019 - Page 4 News List

North Koreans vote in rubberstamp elections

AP, PYONGYANG

Voters queue to cast their ballots at the 3.26 Pyongyang Cable Factory during the Supreme People’s Assembly elections, in Pyongyang yesterday.

Photo: AFP

Millions of North Korean voters, including North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, yesterday went to the polls to elect about 700 members to the national legislature, although the vote was more of an endorsement than a contest.

In typical North Korean style, voters were presented with just one state-sanctioned candidate per seat. They cast their ballots to show their approval or, very rarely, disapproval.

The elections, held every five years, are for the entire Supreme People’s Assembly, which on paper at least, is the highest organ of power in North Korea. Its delegates come from all over the country and all walks of life.

The candidates are selected by the ruling Korean Workers’ Party and a few other smaller coalition parties that have seats in the assembly but exercise little independent power.

Kim, fresh off his trip to Hanoi, Vietnam, for his second summit with US President Donald Trump, is the most prominent candidate of all. Although his power rests in his complete control over the ruling party, government and military, Kim is running for re-election in his Pyongyang district.

Turnout is generally reported at 99 percent or higher. That should of course be taken with a grain of salt, but voting is generally regarded as a duty and responsibility, and simply staying at home is not an option.

Photos and profiles of the candidates are posted before each election.

“No one votes against the candidate,” said Jin Ki-chol, the chairman of an election committee supervising a polling station at a cable factory in central Pyongyang. “Everyone knows [this] candidate well. She has been serving them well for the past five years, so they support her.”

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