赛车时时彩投注平台:Kim Jong-un expected to win 100 per cent of votes in 'sham' North Korea election

广东时时彩投注 www.dej6f.com.cn Updated March 12, 2019 11:09:43

Millions of North Koreans went to the polls on Sunday, in an election in which the results are a foregone conclusion.

Key points:

  • Results are expected to come out today even though there was one name on the ballots
  • Official voter turnout and votes for candidates are both expected to be near 100 per cent
  • North Korea is said to use the election as an unofficial census and to track citizens' loyalty

There is no chance of regime change via the ballot box in the totalitarian state, where leader Kim Jong-un is all-powerful.

Candidates in each district are preselected by the ruling party, and run unopposed.

Voting is mandatory, and it is unlikely anyone would dare to leave their ballot blank, especially since there is only one name on each voting paper and people cannot vote in secret.

With the first results expected to come in today, we take a look at how the country votes, the likely results, and why North Korea even bothers to hold elections.

What were people voting for?

People were voting for North Korea's national legislative body, the Supreme People's Assembly, which is elected every five years.

Though it has an impressive number of members — 687 in total — in reality they have no real power.

The Supreme People's Assembly meets just once or twice a year to pass laws put forward by Chairman Kim and his State Affairs Commission, the highest state body.

"It is, in fact, a rubber-stamp parliament passing laws that are recommended by the regime," Leonid Petrov, a North Korea expert at the Australian National University, said of the Supreme People's Assembly.

Candidates are drawn largely from the ruling Korean Workers' Party, by the Democratic Front for the Reunification of the Fatherland, but there are two smaller parties that also field candidates.

However these provide only a weak illusion of competition, according to Dr Petrov, as both smaller parties come under the umbrella of the Korean Workers' Party.

How does the voting process work?

North Korean state media published photographs of citizens dutifully lining up to cast their ballots in Sunday's general election.

All North Korean citizens aged 17 and older are required to vote in elections — and there are even official election monitors.

But with only one candidate to choose from in each district, voters don't have anything resembling a choice.

The voting came to an end on Sunday "amid patriotic enthusiasm of all the people", state media agency KCNA declared.

Dr Petrov said the reality was that "fear is ruling the country" and no-one would risk speaking out against Mr Kim and his ruling party.

"They have a monopoly on terror in the form of secret police, the army and the party, so it's a rock-solid system to maintain power indefinitely," he said.

What results are expected?

Official voter turnout is likely to be close to 100 per cent.

In the last national elections, held in 2014, official voter turnout was 99.97 per cent. The same turnout figures were reported in lower-level elections the following year.

State newspaper Rodong Sinmun said in an editorial ahead of the election that voters should cast their ballots "with their loyalty to the party and the leader, absolute support to the DPRK Government and the will to share their destiny with socialism to the last", according to a translation by KCNA Watch.

In other words, candidates — including Mr Kim — will almost certainly receive 100 per cent of the votes, as they did in previous years.

Any rejection of political candidates by, for example, crossing out the single name listed or refusing to vote "is interpreted as treason", according Freedom House, a US-based democracy watchdog.

As well as the election being a "100 per cent sham", Dr Petrov said, "there is no independent court system where the results can be contested [and] there's no free media who could raise the questions about the impartiality or fairness of the elections".

"There's no way of undermining the system, it's a bulletproof system … in order to maintain the dictatorship in power indefinitely," he said.

So why even bother?

How much it cost to stage the election is not known, but it's no secret that elections don't come cheap — and that North Korea's economy has suffered as a result of sanctions.

According to Freedom House, the North Korean Government uses the five-yearly event "as an unofficial census" and a way to track citizens' loyalty to the Supreme Leader.

But the main reason for continuing with the charade, according to Dr Petrov, is to provide a veneer of legitimacy for the Kim dynasty.

"It calls itself a democracy, but there's no democratic institutions," he said.

"The election is just the staging of a show that appears to be democratic."

And the lack of any alternatives to the current regime, he said, renders the vote "meaningless" in political terms.

Topics: world-politics, government-and-politics, elections, korea-democratic-peoples-republic-of, asia

First posted March 12, 2019 11:01:23

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