North Koreans vote in state ′election′ | News | DW | 10.03.2019
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North Koreans vote in state 'election'

Millions of North Koreans voted to elect 700 members to the country's nominal parliament. Citizens were presented with just one state-approved name per constituency.

North Koreans went to the polls on Sunday to approve the state selection of hundreds of members to the national legislature.

The country's leader Kim Jong Un, recently returned from his second denuclearization summit with US President Donald Trump in Hanoi, was among millions of North Koreans who voted. Kim is running for 're-election' in his Pyongyang district.

Pressure to conform  

Given the absence of competition in the country's election process, the vote is seen by outsiders as nothing more than a rubber-stamping exercise. Taking part is compulsory and turnout is usually reported by the state news agency at 99 percent or higher.

Citizens, who regard voting as a duty and responsibility, may in theory oppose a candidate by crossing out his or her name before casting the ballot. This is unheard of, however, in a country where the pressure to conform is strong.

Kim Jong Un casting his vote (Reuters/KCNA)

Kim Jong Un casting his vote

Solid support

Photos and profiles of the candidates are posted before each election. "No one votes against the candidate," said Jin Ki Chol, the chairman of an election committee in central Pyongyang.

"Everyone knows the candidate well. She has been serving them well for the past five years, so they support her."

Election day has a festive mood when voters traditionally wear brightly colored national dress (picture-alliance/AP/Dita Alangkara)

Election day has a festive mood when voters traditionally wear brightly colored national dress

Denuclearization 

Sunday's vote took place a day after reports suggested North Korea is reactivating parts of its missile program. Satellite images from a key facility near Pyongyang cited by US news outlet NPR appeared to show an operational launching station.

NPR said the images of Sanumdong, where North Korea's first inter-continental ballistic missiles and space rockets were produced, were taken days before the high-stakes Trump- Kim summit in Hanoi, which ended in failure.

kw/ng (AP, AFP, Reuters)

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