North Korea keeps a vice-like grip on its citizens with compulsory national legislature vote
Choices were made by the ruling elite, not citizen voters
Sunday 09 March 2014
North Korean voters went to the polls on Sunday to elect a new national legislature, but nobody actually voted for one candidate over another. The ruling elite have already done that for them, and there’s only one per district.
They get to vote "yes" or "no." Virtually all pick "yes". One thing they can't choose is whether to bother voting. Going to the polls is expected of all eligible voters, which effectively makes North Korean elections a powerful tool for checking up on the people.
For outsiders trying to figure out North Korean politics, Sunday's elections for the Supreme People's Assembly may shed some light on what personalities are in favour and likely to dominate in the years ahead. For the authorities, the elections provide a veneer of democracy and a means of monitoring the whereabouts and loyalties of citizens.
Along with nearly 700 other "deputies" expected to be seated in the new assembly, Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un has announced his candidacy - in District 111 on sacred Mount Paekdu.
Official turnout rates are reported at more than 99 per cent. Fictitious as that may sound, Michael Madden, editor of the NK Leadership Watch website, said it reflects one reason the autocratic North has votes at all: they provide "the most comprehensive assessment of the population".
Mustering the nation is a chance for the authorities to hone their mobilisation skills, check the efficiency of local leaders and get a snapshot of internal movements.
"The DPRK is very good at mobilising the population for events," Mr Madden said, adding that elections: "Are celebratory events. And according to North Korean migrants and defectors, it is very difficult to get a hardship dispensation from participating."
Mr Madden said security officials will review data on non-voters to glean information on suspicious activity - absentees could be workers who have snuck off to China for higher pay or military personnel who have gone awol. AP
- 1 Caitlyn Jenner car crash: Driver who died in collision sued by surviving passengers for $18.5m
- 3 Watch the Supermoon live: How to see the brightest Moon of the year tonight
- 5 The 20 toughest job interview questions in the world
Caitlyn Jenner car crash: Driver who died in collision sued by surviving passengers for $18.5m
Pictures show young Palestinian girl biting Israeli soldier trying to detain boy during West Bank protests
Celebrity Big Brother 2015: Tila Tequila kicked off show after 'describing Hitler as a good man'
Watch the Supermoon live: How to see the brightest Moon of the year tonight
Hulk Hogan wants to be Donald Trump's running mate in the US Presidential election
Climate change: 2015 will be the hottest year on record 'by a mile', experts say
'Women only' train carriages: Jeremy Corbyn unveils radical move to tackle public harassment
Black holes are a passage to another universe, says Stephen Hawking
Iain Duncan Smith 'should resign over disability benefit death figures', says Jeremy Corbyn
Stock up on canned food for stock market crash, warns former Gordon Brown adviser
Labour leadership: Jeremy Corbyn voters most likely to believe 'world is controlled by a secretive elite'
£18000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Sales Executive or Senior Sal...
£40000 - £55000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...
£22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This industry leading company produces h...
£20000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This IT provider for the educat...