North Koreans are about to go to the polls in local elections – but they can only vote “Yes”
It's not necessarily the kind of thing you'd expect from the country run by a man prone to shooting those who fall asleep when he's in the same room – but this weekend the residents of North Korea will go to the polls to elect their local people's assemblies.
Of course, as The Economist reported this morning, there isn't a lot of choice: the ballot paper includes one candidate for each position in their local area, each of which represents the Democratic Front for the Reunification of the Fatherland (that's Kim Jong-Un's party, naturally).
Abstaining is considered treason, as is using a red pen on the ballot, which indicates a "no" vote. Nevertheless, the "yes" campaign has launched its own propaganda initiative:
But at least the voting booths will look nice: well-off locals have been asked to donate valuable items to spruce them up.
The UPI news agency reported this week that the population of North Korea is "stirred up" in anticipation of the vote, and that voters have been asked by the government to increase their "revolutionary vigilance".
An article in Japan-based pro-North Korean newspaper Choson Sinbo said campaigning activities (which have included children as young as nine, according to some reports) were occuring at "full throttle", which were "elevating the mood of the election".
Not surprisingly, the country tends to report turnouts of near-100 per cent for its elections. That's the kind of level UK parliamentarians could only dream of…