[imText1]Chosun (North Korea) Central TV, with the Local People’s Assembly representative elections ahead on the 29th of the month, reported on the 14th that a poster with the election slogan, “Let everyone vote in agreement,” has been produced.
North Korean Local People’s Assembly elections is a process of electing People’s Assembly representative at the province and the city under the direct control of the central government, and general cities, gun (county levels) and districts. At the election held in August 2003, 26,650 delegates were elected to the local People’s Assembly representative.
All elections at each unit of North Korea take place by each sole candidate coming forth and people voting for or against him or her. The nomination of candidates takes place by the elections party committee, who selects the candidates before the fact, and each level of organizations.
When the election date is publicly announced, events or meetings are held to encourage the approval votes of each People’s Unit, civil organizations, or organs. Not only election slogans to encourage votes, but political slogans also emerge, such as “Let’s shine the military-first politics even more through participation of the populous.”
Mr. Lee, who defected to South Korea in 2004, said, “The National Security Agency tries to instill fear among the citizens by spreading rumors such as ‘So and so of a certain region voted in disagreement, so the entire family was banished. If one does not vote, he or she becomes special object of inspections.’ I did not know this there, but when I came here, I realized they were groundless acts of propagation to encourage approval votes.”
On the day of elections, if one enters the voting place, the citizens registration card is confirmed and people form lines to enter the voting area. Failure to participate in the voting is the same as being classified as anti-revolutionary persons.
In the case that one votes in agreement with the candidate, he or she can drop the voting paper in the voting box. Only in the case of disapproval can one enter the polling booth and mark X with a pencil. In reality, it is a public vote without the assurance of secrecy because the person in disagreement can be identified right away.
At the time of a vote of disagreement, the person is taken to the National Security Agency and undergo severe interrogations and is classified as a anti-revolutionary person, so no one dares to disagree. In the view of South Korean, we can become incensed about the fact that and ask ‘how can elections be so undemocratic?’ but to North Korea citizens, this is such a natural fact.”
As a result, North Korean elections are an election in words, but has a different dimension from our elections. In North Korea, the dimension of testing political character and understanding civilian population is much stronger than the meaning of electing representatives. In actuality, it is a political event to seize citizens.
With this year’s elections approaching, the inspections of North Korean borders and maritime has become much more strict and the issuance of permits for relocation has become more difficult. By doing so, means to restrain relocations have actually been implemented.
When elections end in the North, there is no special announcement on the result. Korean Central TV only reports the expected results in a lump, such as a 99.9% voting rate and a 100% approval rate.
Election slogans such as “Let everyone vote in agreement” cannot be abrupt to North Korean. However, such undemocratic election campaigns cannot continue forever by the North Korean authorities. When North Korean citizens realize that slogans to encourage votes of approval is the starting point for a dictatorship and anti-humanitarian politics, North Korea’s quality will change.