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.
Just days before ballots open, the efforts, according to the KCNA report, have been effective in mobilizing excitement among the key constituencies. “Seen in streets, public places, industrial establishments and co-op farms are ‘Let us all participate in election of deputies to SPA!’,” KCNA reported. The North Korean government is expecting near 100% turnout — voting after all, is mandatory. That doesn’t change the fact that the North Korean government, as it has after past parliamentary votes, will almost certainly report Monday that it had huge success in getting out the vote. Another victory for the Dear Leader!
Full Article: Handicapping the North Korean Elections.