While I am sure most of you are watching the LDP get trounced by the DPJ in today’s upper house election (just as I predicted, of course), I just wanted to let you know that this isn’t the only election happening today (thanks to ZAKZAK):
Elections in North Korea, too? A Sunday election with no losers and 99.8% voter turnout.
On July 29, an election will take place in North Korea. However, with a voter turnout of 99.8%, just one candidate for each election district, and no writing implements to vote with, it would be better described as a “ceremony” than an election.
North Korea uses single-member election districts similar to Japan’s, but there is no proportional representation because of the de facto dominance by the Worker’s Party of Korea. Citizens can vote from age 17, and in this election provincial, city, and county representatives will be selected. On August 3, an election will be held to select members of the Supreme People’s Assembly (NK’s parliament), in which even dictator Kim Jong Il (age 65) will run as a candidate. Kim has won a consecutive 5 terms in office starting in 1982 (but of course, none of the “candidates” ever actually lose in this election).
An unnamed private researcher explains: “The election form says ‘I vote affirmatively to make X a representative’ and if the voter agrees, he/she simply places the vote in the box. The rules state that you are to place an X on the election form if you disagree, but they do not provide any writing implements at the election office.”
There are supposedly more than 600 members of the SPA, but the election districts are listed by number and do not specify which region the candidate is supposed to represent. Neither are voters informed who the candidates are before the election, so it makes no difference to the voters who is in office.
Kim’s election district changes each time: for example, in 1998 he ran in the “Korean People’s Army 666th Electoral District.”
Kazuo Miyazuka, a professor at Yamanashi Gakuin University who is familiar with NK’s internal situation, notes “Since 100% of the voters vote affirmatively, this is not an election at all. It is a chance to test whether the people will faithfully participate and is used as a way to dominate the people.”