North Korea elects new parliament
North Koreans on Sunday elects a new parliament for the second time under leader Kim Jong Un, though the process is merely a formality and no real competition is allowed.
Only one candidate from the ruling Korean Workers’ Party contests each constituency, with voters asked to tick either “yes’’ or “no’’ on the ballot.
The 687 lawmakers are elected for a period of five years and results are expected to be announced in two days’ time.
According to state-run news agency KCNA, 57 per cent of voters had cast their ballots by midday.
“All the electors are participating as one in the election for the sake of the prosperity of the socialist country and development of the people’s power with their great pride and honour,’’ it wrote.
Observers say the elections serve to cement national unity in the country, which is internationally isolated and subject to UN sanctions over its nuclear missiles programme.
A second summit between Kim and U.S. President Donald Trump in Hanoi in February, aimed at persuading North Korea to give up its nuclear programme, ended without an agreement.
The parliament is officially North Korea’s highest organ of state but it only meets once or twice a year to rubber-stamp decisions made by the country’s leaders.