N Korean polls see 99.97% participation: State media

N Korean polls see 99.97% participation: State media
North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un (L) inspecting the construction site of Terminal 2 building of Pyongyang International Airport in Pyongyang.
PHOTO: AFP/ KCNA VIA KNS

SEOUL - Local elections in North Korea saw a massive 99.97 percent voter participation rate on Sunday, state media reported.

The state-controlled polls were held to elect new representatives put forward by the ruling party for assemblies at provincial, city and county levels.

"All participants took part in the elections with extraordinary enthusiasm to cement the revolutionary power through the elections of deputies to the local people's assemblies," Pyongyang's official Korean Central News Agency said.

Only those who were out of the country were unable to vote, KCNA said, with the elderly and ill casting their votes into "mobile ballot boxes".

Typically, 99 percent of North Korean voters in the de facto single-party state take part in elections and 99 percent of them cast "yes" votes for uncontested candidates.

In 2011, 28,116 representatives were elected as deputies to local assemblies with not a single vote of opposition to the candidates.

During each four-year term, the local assemblies convene once or twice a year to approve budgets and endorse leaders appointed by the ruling party.

North Korea, which the Kim dynasty has ruled with an iron fist for more than six decades, held elections to its rubber-stamp parliament last year.

Such elections have in the past been an opportunity to see if any established names are absent.

South Korean intelligence officials say dozens of senior North Korean officials have been purged since Kim Jong-Un took power following the death of his father Kim Jong-Il in December 2011.

His most high-profile purge to date has been that of his once powerful uncle Jang Song-Thaek, who was condemned as "factionalist scum" following his execution in 2013.

Kim also replaced his defence minister in April.

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