North Korea: In a world of absurd election results, North Korea is in good company | The Washington Post

Local elections in North Korea over the weekend went just about as expected. State-run Korean Central News Agency reported that 99.97 percent of voters participated in Sunday’s ballot, which is held every few years and essentially involves predetermined candidates who are rubber-stamped into office. Any lingering curiosity about the remaining .03 percent quickly evaporates, as the agency acknowledged that they were “on foreign tour or working in oceans” at the time. If that feels, well, unbelievable, in a world of strongmen and staged elections, think back to these past examples. (Yes, North Korea makes an appearance.)

North Korea: Voters in North Korea face little choice in local elections | The Independent

North Korea has held local elections to decide provincial governors – with the official turnout recorded at a near-perfect 99.97 per cent of the population. Voters do not mark their ballot papers, but put them into a ballot box to show support for pre-approved candidates. There is only one candidate on the paper for each district. A near-100% turnout in North Korean elections is common since voting is mandatory for everyone over the age of 17 and abstaining is considered an act of treason. Observers say the polls are used as an informal census, allowing the authorities to ensure citizens are where they are supposed to be and identify defectors.

North Korea: Citizens forced to vote in North Korea’s version of democracy | CNN

It’s called the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. But any real notions of democracy end with the name. North Koreans headed to the polls at the weekend to cast their ballots in elections for local representatives on provincial, city, and county People’s Assemblies. Citizens were not asked to make a choice — the results had already been decided by Kim Jong Un’s central government. Voters were handed ballot papers but didn’t mark them. They would have instead deposited them in a ballot box, signifying their support for the pre-approved candidates. Defector Kim Kwang-jin explained that their most important job is to show up.

North Korea: A Sham Election Worth Studying | Time Magazine

Kim wins. That is the unsurprising outcome of North Korea’s first legislative elections under the leadership of young dictator Kim Jong Un. State media report that nearly 100% of eligible North Koreans voted in Sunday’s poll, and 100% of them cast votes in favor of the status quo. This is only partly as ridiculous as it sounds: voting is mandatory and there is one option on the ballot. Indeed, when North Korea votes, it votes. When exactly 100% of eligible North Korean set out to cast votes 100% in favor of predetermined politicians, they were carried forth on “billows of emotion and happiness,” state media reported. And nowhere were they happier — or more billowy, presumably — that in Kim’s district, Mount Paektu, the Korean peninsula’s highest peak. The group that voted at the storied site were so moved by the exercise that they spontaneously burst into song, state media said.

North Korea: Kim Jong Un ‘elected’ with 100% of the vote | Associated Press

With no one else on the ballot, state media reported Monday that supreme leader Kim Jong Un was not only elected to the highest legislative body in North Korea, he won with the unanimous approval of his district, which had 100% turnout. North Koreans went to the polls on Sunday to approve the new roster of deputies for the Supreme People’s Assembly, the country’s legislature. The vote, more a political ritual than an election by Western standards, is generally held once every five years. Though results for the other seats in the assembly had not yet been announced, North Korea’s media quickly reported Kim had won in his district — located on the symbolic Mount Paekdu — without a single dissenting ballot.

North Korea: To protect families, North Korean defectors sneak back for election | Asahi Shimbun

Some North Korean defectors in China said they would sneak back into their country to vote in an election to further conceal their absence and prevent possible repercussions against family members. It was unclear how many defectors returned to North Korea for the March 9 election to pick deputies to the Supreme People’s Assembly. Some defectors said they had no plans to return for the vote. But all defectors interviewed by The Asahi Shimbun denied they had any interest in the election itself. “All candidates in past elections were strangers,” one of them said. “Voting meant nothing for us.” What they were interested in was the stricter voter identification control in the latest election. The defectors in China heard that North Korean authorities would conduct extensive investigations into anybody who did not turn up at a polling station.

North Korea: Handicapping the North Korean Elections | Foreign Policy

North Korea is holding parliamentary elections. Well, sort of. Three days ahead of Sunday’s vote, the Democratic Front for the Reunification of the Fatherland looks set to complete yet another clean sweep of the 687-seat Supreme People’s Assembly. But maintaining their unanimous hold on parliament shouldn’t be challenging: There are no opposition parties on the ballot. The Democratic Front, the governing coalition led by Kim Jong Un’s ruling Workers’ Party, has handpicked one — and only one — candidate for each district. It’s nearly impossible to determine which individuals and institutions hold real power within the secretive North Korean government, but one thing is clear: The Supreme People’s Assembly is not one of them. Parliamentary elections, which are held every five years, are little more than a progranda excercise for a regime ruled by its despotic dictatorship at the top. Still, the North Korean government remains determined to uphold at least the appearance of democratic legitimacy. On Wednesday, the state news agency KCNA reported that election preparations were “gaining momentum.” “Agitation activities are going on to encourage citizens to take active part in the election with high political enthusiasm and labour feats, amid the playing of ‘Song of the election.'” Let the horserace begin.

North Korea: Kim Jong-un runs in legendary district | Reuters

North Korea, accused of human rights violations, elects its largely symbolic parliament this weekend, with leader Kim Jong-un, the third in his family dynasty to rule the totalitarian state, running unopposed in a legendary mountain district. State news agency KCNA said on Thursday that election preparations were “gaining momentum”, with voters confirming their names on electoral lists for the ballot held every five years. “Agitation activities are going on to encourage citizens to take active part in the election with high political enthusiasm and labour feats, amid the playing of ‘Song of the election’,” KCNA reported. North Koreans, it said, sought to “demonstrate once again the might of single-minded unity by casting ballots for their candidates”.