North Korea elections: Zero per cent drama, 100 per cent mandatory
Tokyo: North Korean voters will make a choice Sunday when they elect a new national legislature, but not for a candidate. 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 don`t get to decide 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 what`s going on in North Korean politics, Sunday`s elections for the Supreme People`s Assembly may shed some light on what personalities are currently in favor and likely to dominate in the years ahead. For North Korean authorities, the elections provide both a veneer of democracy and a means of monitoring the whereabouts and loyalties of average citizens.
Colorful posters urging citizens to go to the polls line the streets in Pyongyang and other cities.
Along with nearly 700 other `deputies" expected to be seated in the new assembly, supreme leader Kim Jong Un himself has announced his candidacy, in District 111 on sacred Mount Paekdu.
Official turnout rates in North Korean elections are generally reported at over 99 per cent, a practice inspired by the tradition of Stalin`s Soviet Union. Sunday`s will likely be the same.
Fictitious as that may sound, Michael Madden, editor of the NK Leadership Watch website and a contributor to the 38 North news bulletin, said it reflects one reason the autocratic North has elections at all: They provide "the most comprehensive assessment of the population."
Mustering the nation every so often is a chance for the authorities to hone their mobilization skills, check up on the efficiency of local leaders and get a snapshot of internal movements.
"The DPRK is very good about mobilizing the population for events," Madden said, referring to North Korea by its official name, the Democratic People`s Republic of Korea. He said legislative elections "are celebratory events with various activities. According to various North Korean migrants and defectors, it is very difficult for a voter to get a hardship dispensation from participating."
More from India
More from World
More from Sports
More from Entertaiment
- Congress workers blow up pigeons by blasting them inside rockets
- Beef row: Lalu Prasad Yadav contradicts his statements
- Lalu Yadav's son Tejasvi Yadav wants to change the face of Bihar education
- Indian Army 5th deadliest in the world: Report
- Indrani Mukerjea attains consciousness; is now out of danger
- Indrani Mukerjea regains consciousness, out of danger, says hospital
- Is Salman Khan - Aamir Khan friendship over?
- Dadri lynching case: Sadhvi Prachi makes provocative remark, says beef-eaters deserve such fate
- Modi must be punished, he has cheated people: Ram Jethmalani
- Was Giani Zail Singh planning to topple Rajiv Gandhi govt in 1987?