North Koreans Vote in Elections for Rubber-Stamp Parliament

(Bloomberg) -- North Koreans cast their votes on Sunday in a parliamentary election that comes as leader Kim Jong Un faces mounting pressure to demonstrate his ability to cope with the international sanctions squeezing his country.

The regime holds elections every five years to pick representatives to the Supreme People’s Assembly -- North Korea’s rubber stamp parliament -- with the last one taking place in March 2014. Millions of North Koreans are expected to go to the ballot boxes to choose about 700 members to the legislature, and Kim is running in his Pyongyang district, the Associated Press reported.

North Koreans Vote in Elections for Rubber-Stamp Parliament

This is the second election since Kim took power after his father died in 2011. Over the past seven years, the Swiss-educated leader has steered North Korea from his father’s “military first” policy focused on building a nuclear arsenal to one that emphasizes the economy.

“The election will strikingly manifest the fixed will of our people to firmly trust and uphold to the last Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un despite storm and stress,” state media outlet Korea Central News Agency reported, citing a commentary by the Rodong Sinmun newspaper.

As of 3 p.m. in Pyongyang, about 92 percent of registered electors had voted, according to KCNA. Kim voted at the polling station at Kim Chaek University of Technology, the news agency said. He said at a party convention last week that the top priority is to improve the economy and the livelihood of the people.

U.S. President Donald Trump abruptly ended a summit with Kim last month in Hanoi, saying the North Korean leader asked for all U.S. sanctions to be lifted in exchange for dismantling his country’s main nuclear complex.

©2019 Bloomberg L.P.