N. Korea Prepares For Local Elections After Election Law Revision

(MENAFN- AzerNews) Meetings were held across North Korea for voters to meet candidates running in the upcoming local elections, Pyongyang's state media said Tuesday, as the reclusive regime prepares for its first election featuring more than one candidate, Azernews reports, citing Yonhap News Agency.

On Sunday, North Korea is set to hold local elections to pick new deputies for local assemblies of provinces, cities and counties across the nation. In what appeared to be an intention to introduce competition in the election system, some constituencies had fielded two candidates for the upcoming vote.

Under the recently revised election law, the North will hold a preliminary election to decide on a final candidate for new deputies of local assemblies, after reviewing the qualifications of two candidates. The final candidate will be allowed to meet with voters during their election campaigns.

The North's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said registered candidates and voters held gatherings to discuss issues regarding their respective constituencies in a "candid" manner, enabling candidates to "look back on their work" under their "impartial evaluation."

The KCNA also reported that Choe Ryong-hae, chairman of the Standing Committee of the Supreme People's Assembly, inspected ongoing preparations for the local elections.

"He called for making sure that the people fully express their will in the upcoming vote by well equipping the polling booths and conducting various forms of election campaigns," it said.

The recent revision in the election law appears to be intended to introduce competition to the election system, albeit on a rudimentary level, as the ruling Workers' Party has so far hand-picked one candidate per electoral district.

The local elections are held every four years, and the number of seats is determined by the population of each area. But the elections are widely viewed as a formality, as the candidates are selected by the North's ruling party and rubber-stamped into office.

South Korea's unification ministry has said the change in the North's election system does not indicate the introduction of free elections in the reclusive regime and is rather seen as an attempt to manage public opinion amid prolonged economic difficulties.


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