State-controlled local elections in North Korea on Sunday saw a 99.97% voter participation rate, state media reported, in polls to elect new representatives put forward by the ruling party.
Typically, virtually 100% of North Korean voters in the de facto single-party state take part in elections and virtually 100% of them cast “yes” votes for uncontested candidates.
“All participants took part in the elections with extraordinary enthusiasm to cement the revolutionary power through the elections of deputies to the local people’s assemblies,” Pyongyang’s official Korean Central News Agency said.
Only those who were out of the country were unable to vote, KCNA said, with the elderly and ill casting their votes into “mobile ballot boxes”.
Among those who voted was the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-Un, who took power following the death of his father Kim Jong-Il in December 2011. He cast his ballot in the capital.
In 2011, 28,116 representatives were elected as deputies to local assemblies with not a single vote of opposition to the candidates.
During each four-year term, the local assemblies convene once or twice a year to approve budgets and endorse leaders appointed by the ruling party.
North Korea, which the Kim dynasty has ruled with an iron fist for more than six decades, held elections for its rubber-stamp parliament last year. Those polls also saw a turnout of 99.97%.
Such elections have in the past offered an opportunity for North Korea watchers to see if any established names are absent.
South Korean intelligence officials say dozens of senior North Korean officials have been purged since Kim Jong-Un took power.
His most high-profile purge has been that of his once powerful uncle Jang Song-Thaek, who was condemned as “factionalist scum” following his execution in 2013.
Kim also replaced his defence minister in April.
Source: The Guardian