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North Korea holds election

PYONGYANG (AFP) – North Koreans go to the polls Sunday for an election in which there can be only one winner.

Leader Kim Jong Un’s ruling Workers’ Party has an iron grip on the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, as the isolated, nuclear-armed country is officially known.

But every five years, it holds an election for the rubber stamp legislature, known as the Supreme People’s Assembly.

And in keeping with one of Pyongyang’s most enduring slogans – ”Single-minded unity” – there is only one approved name on each of the ballot papers.

Voters have the opportunity to cross it out before casting their ballot, but in practice that is unknown.

Turnout last time was 99.97 percent, according to the official KCNA news agency – only those who were abroad or ”working in oceans” did not take part. And the vote was 100 percent in favor of the named candidates.

”We regard all the people in our country as one family so we will unite with one mind and we will vote for the agreed candidate,” Socialist Women’s Union official Song Yang Ran, 57, told AFP ahead of this year’s poll.

Ordinary North Koreans always express total support for the authorities when speaking to foreign media.

”Our system is the best,” Song said when asked her opinion of elections that have several names on the ballot paper.

”We acknowledge no one but the Supreme Leader,” she added, referring to Kim Jong Un. ”And we will hold the respected Marshal in high esteem forever.”