N. Korea reports 99.97% voter turnout, Kim Jong-un casts ballot

July 20, 2015
A picture released by the North Korea Central News Agency (KCNA) shows North Korean leader Kim Jong-un casting a ballot at a polling station. (Yonhap/KCNA)

A picture released by the North Korea Central News Agency (KCNA) shows North Korean leader Kim Jong-un casting a ballot at a polling station. (Yonhap/KCNA)

SEOUL, July 20 (Yonhap) — North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has cast a ballot in the elections to select deputies to local assemblies, which was held for the first time in four years, the North’s media said Monday.

North Korea selected deputies to local assemblies Sunday for the first time since the North’s leader Kim took power in late 2011, following the sudden death of his father, Kim Jong-il.

The elections are held every four years, and the number of seats is determined by the population of each area. But they are widely viewed as a formality as the candidates hand-picked by the ruling Workers’ Party are rubber-stamped into office.

The Korean Central News Agency said that 99.97 percent of voters participated in the elections, except for “those on foreign tour or working in oceans.” The voter turnout was the same as recorded in local elections in 2011.

It added that voters unable to go to polling stations due to old age or illness participated in the elections via mobile ballot boxes.

The KCNA said that after casting his ballot, the North’s leader praised the candidates for their devotion to the development of North Korea.

Kim’s entourage included Hwang Pyong-so, director of the general political department of the Korean People’s Army, and the North’s Premier Pak Pong-ju, it added.

Elected deputies hold a meeting once or twice every year to set their provinces’ budgets and draw up plans for law enforcement, experts said.

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