On the heels of elections to the country’s rubber-stamp parliament, North Korea’s provincial People’s Committees will see their own elections this July, sources inside the country report.
This year, the provincial People’s Committee elections will follow the nationwide elections to North Korea’s rubber-stamp Supreme People’s Assembly (SPA). They are the second such event to occur since Kim Jong Un came to power, the first being held in July 2015.
“At county Party Committee meetings for officials, they announced that the People’s Committee elections will take place in July,” a source in North Pyongan Province told Daily NK on March 25.
A source in Hyesan, Ryanggang Province corroborated this news, noting that he had been informed that the event will be held in mid-July.
In the past, North Korean state media has typically announced plans for provincial People’s Committee elections one to two months out from their commencement.
Elections in North Korea are neither free nor fair. According to defectors, those appointed as People’s Committee delegates are deemed to have shown loyalty to the local Party Committee and higher-ups and are most often a combination of intellectuals, farmers, and laborers. Mirroring the Supreme People’s Assembly elections, candidates run unopposed and are preselected by the Workers’ Party.
Voting is mandatory and voting against a candidate is considered an act of treason.
“Law enforcement bodies have been ordered to sustain heightened surveillance over the movement of residents and activities that began ahead of the SPA election through the local People’s Committee elections,” a separate source in North Pyongan Province reported.
That the restrictions have hampered the movement of goods through the country’s markets and prompted food prices to rise recently is grim news for the many North Koreans struggling to make ends meet.