North Korea will have its 2015 local elections, the first since Kim Jong Un took power, in mid-July, the Korean Central News Agency announced on Monday.
“Elections for deputies to provincial (municipality), city (district) and county people’s assemblies will take place in the DPRK on July 19, Juche 104 (2015) in accordance with Article 139 of the Socialist Constitution and decisions of the local people’s committees,” the state-run news agency reported in a brief announcement.
The local elections, which elect committees ranking below the Supreme People’s Assembly, have taken place every four years since 1999. The last of them took place in late July 2011, not quite six months before the death of Kim Jong Il, Kim Jong Un’s father and predecessor.
In that election, state media claimed a 99.82 voter turnout rate, in which 27,390 were elected to the assorted committees. This is typical for elections in North Korea: Last year saw elections for the Supreme People’s Assembly, in which all 687 seats saw 100 percent voter turnout and 100 percent approval, state media said. All of the candidates – including Kim Jong Un, representing the Mount Paektu constituency – ran opposed.
Mayors or provincial governors, commonly seen offices in many countries around the world, do exist in North Korea, but have minor influence and are rarely if ever featured in state media.
“They have a dual system, there is mayor/governor, technically elected (but actually appointed), and also there a city/province party secretary,” said Andrei Lankov of Kookmin University in Seoul. “It the latter who has real power, but mayor/governor can be important in some cases as long as he knows his proper place and does not challenge the KWP secretary.”
Picture: Rodong Sinmun
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