Pyongyang, March 11: North Koreans cast their ballots on Sunday where the winner is pre-decided. North Koreans voted to show their support for the young Supreme leader of the DPRK, Kim Jong-Un.
Every five years North Korea holds an election for the Supreme People's Assembly. The exercise is similar to elections held in actual democracies, from electoral rolls to sealed ballot boxes to scrutineers for the count. But in keeping with one of Pyongyang's most enduring slogans -- "Single-minded unity" -- there is only one approved name on each of the red voting slips.
There is a pencil in the panelled voting booths for anyone who might wish to register dissent by crossing out a candidate's name. But no one does. By 6pm, the official KCNA news agency reported, all electors in all constituencies had voted, "except for those abroad or working in oceans".
Turnout in 2014 was 99.97 per cent and the vote was 100 per cent in favour of the named candidates, a result unmatched anywhere else in the world. "Our society is one in which the people are gathered around the respected Supreme Leader with a single mind," election official Ko Kyong Hak told AFP outside a polling station at the 3.26 Pyongyang Cable Factory.
Participation in the election was a citizen's obligation, he said, "and there are no people who reject a candidate". Read: North Korea Rebuilding Sohae Rocket Launch Site Days After Donald Trump Meets Kim Jong-un
An editorial in the Rodong Sinmun, the mouthpiece of the ruling party, reinforced the message. Voters "should cast approval ballots with their loyalty to the party and the leader, absolute support to the DPRK government and the will to share their destiny with socialism to the last", it said.
The North is divided into constituencies for the vote -- there were 686 at the last election, when Kim stood in Mount Paektu, a dormant volcano on the border with China revered as the spiritual birthplace of the Korean people. He received a 100 percent turnout and 100 percent in favour according to KCNA.
Some of the seats are allocated to two minor parties, the Korean Social Democratic Party and the Chondoist Chongdu Party, which has its roots in a 20th century Korean religious movement. They are both in a formal alliance with the ruling party and analysts and diplomats say they exist largely on paper, with only small central offices maintained for propaganda purposes.
Sunday's voting took place in something of a carnival atmosphere in Pyongyang, children in red neckerchiefs parading in the streets to encourage voters to attend.
Bands played at polling stations, where voters queued up in numerical order according to voter lists displayed for days beforehand, and women in flowing traditional dresses danced after casting their ballots.
Architecture student Kuk Dae Kwon, 18, said he was excited to be taking part for the first time. Ordinary North Koreans always express total support for the authorities when speaking to foreign media, and Kuk told AFP: "At this election we consolidate the single-minded unity around the Supreme Leader and also demonstrate the advantages of our socialism to the world." (With inputs from agencies)