North Korean state media reported on Sunday that nearly all registered voters had cast their ballots to elect members of the Supreme People’s Assembly for the first time since Kim Jong Un took leadership of the authoritarian regime after his father’s death two years ago.
The Assembly is nominally the highest legislative power, but in practice only meets once or twice a year to rubber-stamp policies drawn up by the Workers’ Party.
The results have not yet been official announced. At the previous election in 2009, 99.98 per cent of voters turned out, to vote 100-per-cent unanimously for their respective designated candidates, according to official figures.
One candidate was present in each constituency, leaving voters only the choice between voting “yes” or “no,” but observers of the isolated, communist regime were watching the designation of candidates for signs of change.
“It is highly likely that North Korea has reorganized the power structure ahead of the election,” Jang Yong Seok, a senior researcher at the Institute for Peace and Unification at Seoul National University, was quoted as saying by the South’s Yonhap News Agency.
A shake-up of the top officials is thought to be under way in the reclusive country in the wake of the execution of Kim’s uncle and former mentor Jang Song Thaek in December.
Keywords: North Korea elections