Almost all voters turned out in North Korean parliamentary elections

All the adults living in North Korea turned to polling booths Sunday to cast their votes in the country’s latest elections in which surprisingly Kim Jong Un was not on the ballot.

Official KCNA news agency reported the voters’ turnout was 99.9 percent, which is unimaginable in a Western democracy. In 2014 the turnout in the rubber-stamp polls was 99.7 percent. People who are abroad or working in oceans were the 0.01 percent that fell short of 100 percent.

The North Korean elections are international condemned as a sham as Pyongyang gives its rule a veneer of legitimacy. Candidates are selected by the ruling Korean Workers’ Party and some other smaller coalition parties even though they exercise little independent power.

Voters can show approval or disapproval, though very rare, in the ballots for candidates to send them to the Supreme People’s Assembly.

A total of 687 candidates were on the ballots excluding Kim and this is the first time a North Korean leader has not been in the list. Reason of his omission is not known, but it could be his attempts in projecting himself as leader of a legitimate democratic state having separation of legislature and executive. His younger sister Yo-jong found a place in the candidates list.

However, South Korean news agency Yonhap writes Kim’s grip on power is slipping.

North Korean assembly fully meets once or twice a year to approve policies hashed by the ruling party. Smaller group meets often to closely monitor actual functions of the government.

Paul Linus