Almost 100 percent turnout in North Korea local polls

Seoul, July 20 (IANS) North Korea’s first local elections since “supreme leader” Kim Jong-un took control in December 2011 were held over the weekend and saw a 99.97 percent turnout, a media report said on Monday.

State news agency KCNA said all citizens voted on Sunday “except those who were travelling or working abroad”.

Voters who could not make it to the polling stations due to illness or old age voted at mobile poll booths, EFE news agency reported from Seoul citing KCNA.

The polls, held every four years, are for electing around 30,000 representatives in the local people’s assemblies, nominated by the Workers Party, the political arm of Kim Jong-un’s regime.

Kim Jong-un, or the “supreme leader” cast his vote in Pyongyang, praising the candidates for their contribution to the progress of the country.

The last local elections took place in July 2011, making Sunday’s elections the first since the 32-year-old Kim Jong-un took control of the nation in December 2011 after the death of his father, Kim Jong-il.

North Korea’s local elections, which generally witness full voter-turnout and where candidates are elected with absolute majority, are often considered a formality, because representatives are appointed by the single party.

Local representatives appointed through these elections meet once or twice annually to set budgets in their respective areas and draw up plans for implementation of laws, according to North Korea watchers here.

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