This site uses cookies to improve your experience and to provide services and advertising. By continuing to browse, you agree to the use of cookies described in our Cookies Policy. You may change your settings at any time but this may impact on the functionality of the site. To learn more see our Cookies Policy.
OK
Dublin: 4 °C Monday 21 October, 2019
Advertisement

North Korea's election: There's just one approved name on today's ballot

Analysts say the election is held largely as a political rite to enable the authorities to claim a mandate from the people.

Image: 朝鮮通信社

NORTH KOREANS WENT to the polls today for an election in which there could be only one winner.

Leader Kim Jong Un’s ruling Workers’ Party has an iron grip on the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, as the isolated, nuclear-armed country is officially known.

Every five years it holds an election for the rubber stamp legislature, known as the Supreme People’s Assembly.

The exercise has all the trappings of votes elsewhere, from electoral rolls to sealed ballot boxes to scrutineers for the count.

But in keeping with one of Pyongyang’s most enduring slogans – “Single-minded unity” – there is only one approved name on each of the red voting slips.

North Korea Elections A woman receives a ballot from an electoral worker. Source: Dita Alangkara

With portraits of the leader’s father Kim Jong Il and grandfather Kim Il Sung looking down on every ballot box, voters lined up to drop their slips inside.

There is a pencil in the panelled voting booths for anyone who might wish to register dissent by crossing out a candidate’s name. But no one does.

By 6pm, the official KCNA news agency reported, all electors in all constituencies had voted, “except for those abroad or working in oceans”.

North Korea Elections North Koreans dance during the election day. Source: Dita Alangkara

Turnout in 2014 was 99.97% and the vote was 100% in favour of the named candidates, a result unmatched anywhere else in the world.

“Our society is one in which the people are gathered around the respected Supreme Leader with a single mind,” election official Ko Kyong Hak told AFP outside a polling station at the 3.26 Pyongyang Cable Factory.

Participation in the election was a citizen’s obligation, he said, “and there are no people who reject a candidate”.

An editorial in the Rodong Sinmun, the mouthpiece of the ruling party, said that voters “should cast approval ballots with their loyalty to the party and the leader, absolute support to the DPRK government and the will to share their destiny with socialism to the last”.

Carnival atmosphere

North Korea Elections Source: Dita Alangkara

With a total absence of electoral competition, analysts say the election is held largely as a political rite to enable the authorities to claim a mandate from the people.

Today’s voting took place in something of a carnival atmosphere in Pyongyang, children in red neckerchiefs parading in the streets to encourage voters to attend.

Bands played at polling stations, where voters queued up in numerical order according to voter lists displayed for days beforehand, and women in flowing traditional dresses danced after casting their ballots.

The North is divided into constituencies for the vote – there were 686 at the last election, when Kim stood in Mount Paektu, a dormant volcano on the border with China revered as the spiritual birthplace of the Korean people.

He received a 100% turnout and 100% in favour according to KCNA.

© AFP 2019  

  • Share on Facebook
  • Email this article
  •  

About the author:

AFP

Read next:

COMMENTS (43)

This is YOUR comments community. Stay civil, stay constructive, stay on topic. Please familiarise yourself with our comments policy here before taking part.
write a comment

    Leave a commentcancel