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North Korea poll: Politics or propaganda?

Voters are obliged to tick "Yes" for the sole candidate on their ballot paper.

Last updated: 09 Mar 2014 19:17
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North Koreans have been voting for a new parliament, or Supreme People’s Assembly. The elections are the first in five years, and the first to be held since Kim Jong-un came to power.

Each of the ballot papers for North Korea’s 687 districts bears just one name, with voters expected to support the chosen candidate. A "No" vote is allowed; although it’s an option few are expected to exercise.

Kim Jong-un inherited the leadership of North Korea in December 2011 after the death of his father, "Dear Leader" Kim Jong-il. The list of candidates is seen as a gauge of who he may be favouring - and by default, who he may not.

The vote also doubles as a census. Election officials visit every home in the country to make sure all registered voters are where they should be – exposing those who may have fled abroad. 

So what will the polls say about North Korea’s youthful leader? And what can the international community read into the results?

Presenter: Folly Bah Thibault

Guests: John Swenson-Wright - head of the Asia programme at Chatham House, and a member of the World Economic Forum's Global Council on the future of Korea.

Andrei Lankov - professor of Korean Studies at Kookmin University, and author of the book: 'The Real North Korea: Life and Politics in the Failed Stalinist Utopia'.

Joseph Cheng - professor of political science at City University of Hong Kong, and a North Asia specialist.

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Source:
Al Jazeera
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