North Korea humiliated in regime’s worst election results since the 1950s

The elections held in North Korea on the weekend showed a rare form of dissent in the hermit country.

North Koreans were called to cast their ballot on November 26 to elect their local leaders in provincial, city and county assemblies.

While Kim Jong-un’s party, the Fatherland Front, received more than 99 percent of the votes across the assemblies, the reported results still represented the worst recorded in North Korea since 1957.

The leading party officially received less than 100 percent of the votes only at a handful of elections in the first decade of the country, founded by Kim Il-sung, Kim’s grandfather, three years after the Korean peninsula had been divided into two zones along the 38th parallel.

During the 1947 local elections, 86.74 percent of the voters chose the selected candidates.

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A decade later, during the 1957 parliamentary election, the Fatherland Front obtained 99.92 percent of the votes.

Possibly signalling people living in the highly state-controlled nation are growing increasingly tired of Kim’s dictatorship, during the latest round of election 0.09 percent and 0.13 percent of votes were officially cast against the selected candidates for the provincial and city councils, respectively.

Most extraordinarily, these dissenting results were reported by North Korea’s state media.

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News agency KCNA said: “Among the voters who took part in the ballot-casting, 99.91 percent voted for the candidates for deputies to provincial people’s assemblies…. (and) 99.87 percent voted for candidates for deputies to city and county people’s assemblies.”

Elections in North Korea aren’t believed to be either free or fair, with Kim being accused of using a system of patronage and repression to retain power.

Only in August, North Korea revised its election law to allow multiple candidates at local elections, held every four years.

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Some analysts believe that the decision to share news of a small percentage of dissenting votes may be an attempt by North Korea to portray itself as a more democratic society.

Nevertheless, another clue possibly signalling people are showing their dissent is the slightly decreased voter turnout, which went from 99.98 percent at the 2019 local election to 99.63 percent on Sunday.

A similar fluctuation is more significant when considering voting is considered mandatory in North Korea.

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