Elections in North Korea

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This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of
North Korea
Foreign relations
A ballot box in North Korean elections. The ballot is ostensibly secret but if the voter wishes to cross off the name of the candidate it must be done with the red pen next to the ballot box with no secrecy.

Elections in North Korea are held every 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 Workers' Party of Korea dominates the Front and held 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 [Democratic Front for the Reunification of the Fatherland] 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 the ballot.[6][7] Elections are ostensibly conducted by secret ballot, and a voter may cross off the candidate's name to vote against him, but must do so by crossing out the name in special booth.[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.[1][broken citation] The Supreme People's Assembly elects a standing committee known as the Presidium, which exercises legislative functions when the Assembly is not in session. It also elects the Chairman of the National Defence Commission, the country's chief executive, and the Premier.[citation needed]

Local elections[edit]

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.[9] Mayors and governors are elected. Their role is to work with the unelected and more influential city and province party secretaries.[10]

Criticism[edit]

The elections have been variously described as show elections or a political census.[11][12] Seats are uncompetitive as all candidates are chosen and won 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 reportedly watches the elections to identify and investigate no-shows.[8]

A voter may cross off the candidate's name to vote against him, but must do so with a red pen next to the ballot box in sight of electoral officials; many North Korean defectors claim such an act of defiance is too risky to attempt.[6]

Latest election[edit]

The latest election was the first conducted under the leadership of Kim Jong-un following the death of Kim Jong-il in December 2011.

Summary of the 9 March 2014 North Korea Supreme People's Assembly election results

Alliance Party Votes (%) Seats
Democratic Front
for the Reunification
of the Fatherland
Workers' Party of Korea 100.00% 607
Korean Social Democratic Party 50
Chondoist Chongu Party 22
General Association of Korean Residents in Japan 5
Religious associations 3
Total 100.00% 687
Turnout: 99.97%
Source:[13]

Past elections[edit]

The last election conducted under the leadership of Kim Jong-il was held on March 8, 2009. The following day, North Korean media announced that he was unanimously re-elected to parliament, though none of his sons were among the appointments.[14] The election committee also stated that 99.98% of all registered voters took part in voting, with 100% voting for their candidate in each district.[15] All seats were won by the Democratic Front for the Reunification of the Fatherland, under the control of the Worker's Party.[3]

Alliance Party Votes (%) Seats
Democratic Front
for the Reunification
of the Fatherland
Workers' Party of Korea 100.00% 606
Korean Social Democratic Party 50
Chondoist Chongu Party 22
General Association of Korean Residents in Japan 6
Independents 3
Total 100.00% 687
Turnout: 99.98%
Source:[13]

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 c 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 (April 24, 2015). "Inside North Korea's sham election". TIME.com. Retrieved March 10, 2014. 
  9. ^ Kim Seong Hwan (June 10, 2015). "NK to hold local elections next month". DailyNK. Retrieved June 11, 2015. 
  10. ^ York, Rob (June 9, 2015). "North Korea’s local elections coming in July". NK News. Retrieved June 11, 2015. 
  11. ^ Choe Sang-Hun (9 March 2014). "North Korea Uses Election To Reshape Parliament". The New York Times. Retrieved 18 March 2014. 
  12. ^ Hotham, Oliver (3 March 2014). "The weird, weird world of North Korean elections". NK News. Retrieved 17 July 2015. 
  13. ^ a b "IPU PARLINE Database: Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Choe Go In Min Hoe Ui". Inter-Parliamentary Union. 
  14. ^ "N Korea polls 'give no clue'". Press Association. 9 March 2009. 
  15. ^ "N Korea's Kim wins parliamentary seat: official media". AFP. 9 March 2009. 

External links[edit]