PYONGYANG, North Korea – North Koreans went to polling stations today to approve a new national legislature.
The vote for the Supreme People’s Assembly is the first in five years and the first under leader Kim Jong Un. The last elections were held in March 2009, when 687 deputies were elected to the assembly. It is the most powerful body under North Korea’s constitution, but which in reality has little political power.
Instead of choosing who they support, voters are given the choice of a yes or no for the single candidate on their ballot. Virtually all choose yes.
Despite the lack of drama, the voting was being held in a holiday atmosphere, with national flags hoisted along the streets, women decked out in colorful traditional clothing and dancing events held in parks, schools and riversides.
Voting in authoritarian North Korea is considered to be obligatory.
Kim is also a candidate. State media announced that his constituency is a remote mountain area on the border with China. Mount Paekdu is venerated in North Korea’s official history as the birthplace of Kim Jong Il, although historians outside the country agree that he was born in the former Soviet Union.
Election results are normally announced the following day.
The new parliament was expected to meet next month. No date has been officially announced.