Totalitarian elections

Every four or five years there is an election in North Korea. They are not especially competitive. Or at all competitive.

jensowagner [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons
Who would have thought that North Korea would have political parties, let alone elections? Well, they do, although naturally they’re all a bit of a farce. The political parties are the Workers’ Party of Korea (representing, duh, the workers), the Korean Social Democratic Party (merchants and entrepreneurs), and the Chondoist Chongu Party (a Korean religious party). They’re all effectively under the complete control of the Democratic Front for the Reunification of Korea, which is led by the Workers’ Party.

When I say “effectively” I mean that no candidate can run without the permission of the Democratic Front, and only one candidate is allowed to run for each seat. So the election is basically a ceremony where you go into the voting booth, get your one-name ballot, and put it in the ballot box.

Now to be fair, you do not have to vote for that candidate. You are always allowed to cross off their name to indicate that you don’t want them to win. With a big red pen. Which is sitting in front of the officials watching over the booth. Uhhhhh…

No-one votes no, and everyone must vote or the neighbourhood watch will report them. Because it’s compulsory, the vote acts as a census, and as an act of control. It is unheard of to vote against the party line – not surprising, for a totalitarian state.


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