Elections in North Korea

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A propaganda poster in Pyongyang with the slogan "Let's all vote yes!" ("모두다 찬성투표 하자!")
If the voter wishes to cross off the name of the candidate it must be done with a red pen next to the ballot box.

Elections in North Korea are held every four-to-five years for the Supreme People's Assembly (SPA), the country's national legislature, and every four years for Local People's Assemblies.[1][2]

All seats are won by the Democratic Front for the Reunification of the Fatherland.[3] The founding and ruling Workers' Party of Korea dominates the Front and holds 87.5% of the seats, with 7.4% for the Korean Social Democratic Party, 3.2% for the Chondoist Chongu Party, and 1.9% for independent deputies.[4] According to official reports, turnout is near 100%, and approval of the Democratic Front's candidates is unanimous or nearly so.[1]

Procedure[edit]

In reply to a question put forth by Michael Marshall, Li Chun Sik of North Korea stated at a meeting of the Association of Secretaries General of Parliaments (ASGP) of the Inter-Parliamentary Union:[5]

While candidates could be nominated by anyone, it was the practice for all candidates to be nominated by the parties. These nominations were examined by the United Reunification Front and then by the Central Electoral Committee, which allocated candidates to seats. The candidate in each seat was then considered by the electors in meetings at the workplace or similar, and on election day the electors could then indicate approval or disapproval of the candidate on the ballot paper.

Only one candidate appears on each ballot.[6][7] Elections are ostensibly conducted by secret ballot, and a voter may cross off the candidate's name to vote against them, but must do so by crossing out the name without secrecy.[6] Voting is mandatory and turnout is habitually near 100%.[8]

Members of the Supreme People's Assembly are elected to five-year terms, and meet for SPA sessions up to ten days per year.[9] The Supreme People's Assembly elects a standing committee known as the Presidium, which exercises legislative functions when the Assembly is not in session which in practice is all but a few days of the year. It also elects the Chairman of the National Defence Commission, the country's head of state and highest state office, and the Premier, the country's de jure head of government.[10]

Local elections[edit]

Local elections have been held since 1999.[11] The people elect representatives to city, county, and provincial people's assemblies in local elections every four years.[1] The number of representatives is determined by the population of each jurisdiction.[12]

Mayors and governors are technically elected. Their role is to work with the unelected and more influential city and province party secretaries.[13]

Criticism[edit]

The elections have been variously described as show elections or a political census.[14][15] Seats are uncompetitive as all candidates are chosen by the Democratic Front for the Reunification of the Fatherland.[3][5][7] Because of the near-100% turnout, elections double as unofficial censuses. The inminban neighborhood watch-style organization reportedly watches the elections to identify and investigate no-shows.[8]

A voter may cross off the candidate's name to vote against him or her, but must do so in a separate booth without any secrecy–an act of defiance that many North Korean defectors have claimed is too risky to even attempt.[6] In recent elections there have been separate boxes for "no" votes.[16] Voting against the official candidate, or refusing to vote at all, is considered an act of treason, and those who do face the loss of their jobs and housing, along with extra surveillance.[16]

Latest election[edit]

The latest election was held on 10 March 2019.[17]

Summary of the 10 March 2019 North Korea Supreme People's Assembly election results
Alliance Party Votes % Seats
Democratic Front for the
Reunification of Korea
General Association of Korean Residents in Japan 5
Others 682
Total 100 687
Registered voters/turnout 99.99
Source:[18][17]

Past elections[edit]

Parliamentary elections[edit]

By-elections[edit]

Local elections[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "DPRK Holds Election of Local and National Assemblies". People's Korea. Archived from the original on 2013-03-31. Retrieved 2008-06-28.
  2. ^ "The Parliamentary System of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea" (PDF). Constitutional and Parliamentary Information. Association of Secretaries General of Parliaments (ASGP) of the Inter-Parliamentary Union. p. 4. Retrieved 2010-10-01.
  3. ^ a b Moon, Angela; Sugita Katyal; Ralph Boulton (8 March 2009). "N.Korea vote may point to Kim successor". Reuters. Retrieved 2009-03-08.
  4. ^ "The Parliamentary System of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea" (PDF). Constitutional and Parliamentary Information. Association of Secretaries General of Parliaments (ASGP) of the Inter-Parliamentary Union. p. 5. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2012-03-03. Retrieved 2010-10-01.
  5. ^ a b "The Parliamentary System of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea" (PDF). Constitutional and Parliamentary Information. Association of Secretaries General of Parliaments (ASGP) of the Inter-Parliamentary Union. pp. 17–18. Retrieved 2010-10-01.
  6. ^ a b c "North Korea votes for new rubber-stamp parliament". Associated Press. 8 March 2009.
  7. ^ a b "Kim wins re-election with 99.9% of the vote". The New York Times. 9 March 2009.
  8. ^ a b Emily Rauhala (March 10, 2014). "Inside North Korea's sham election". TIME.com. Retrieved April 24, 2015.
  9. ^ "The Parliamentary System of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea" (PDF). Constitutional and Parliamentary Information. Association of Secretaries General of Parliaments (ASGP) of the Inter-Parliamentary Union. Retrieved 2010-10-01.
  10. ^ The Far East and Australasia 2003 (34th ed.). London: Europa Publications. 2002. p. 680. ISBN 978-1-85743-133-9.
  11. ^ "North Korea elections: What is decided and how?". BBC News. 19 July 2015. Retrieved 2015-11-26.
  12. ^ Kim Seong Hwan (June 10, 2015). "NK to hold local elections next month". DailyNK. Retrieved June 11, 2015.
  13. ^ York, Rob (June 9, 2015). "North Korea's local elections coming in July". NK News. Retrieved June 11, 2015.
  14. ^ Choe Sang-Hun (9 March 2014). "North Korea Uses Election To Reshape Parliament". The New York Times. Retrieved 18 March 2014.
  15. ^ Hotham, Oliver (3 March 2014). "The weird, weird world of North Korean elections". NK News. Retrieved 17 July 2015.
  16. ^ a b Alma Milisic (19 July 2015). "Foregone result in North Korea's local elections". Al-Jazeera English.
  17. ^ a b Zwirko, Colin (12 March 2019). "Kim Jong Un left off list of officials elected to 14th Supreme People's Assembly". NK News. Retrieved 18 March 2019.
  18. ^ 최고인민회의 대의원으로 선출된 재일동포들. Choson Sinbo (in Korean). 15 March 2019. Retrieved 17 March 2019.

External links[edit]