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North Koreans Just Voted—but Not for Kim Jong Un

Leader wasn't on ballot, though his sister was
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 12, 2019 11:49 AM CDT
North Koreans wait for their turn to vote during the election at a polling station in Pyongyang, North Korea, on Sunday.   (AP Photo/Dita Alangkara)
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(Newser) – North Korea just had an election, and everyone on the ballot got 100% of the vote. That's not surprising. What is, however, is that Kim Jong Un wasn't among those running, marking the first time a North Korean leader sat out the parliamentary election, reports the BBC. There's been no explanation for why Kim skipped it—he was chosen as head of the Workers' Party of Korea in a vote five years earlier, per the Telegraph. But one analyst tells the BBC the country may be trying to mimic elections in democratic countries, where "the president doesn't concurrently have a seat in the parliament." The Kim family was represented, however: his sister and close aide, Kim Yo Jong, was elected.

People were seen dancing and jumping up and down, clapping or waving their hands in the air, as Kim arrived to cast his own vote in the election. As for his sister, she previously served as vice director of the Propaganda and Agitation Department, but has been working more closely with her brother as of late, and she was among those to accompany him as he met with President Trump in Vietnam. State media described the overall turnout as 99.99%. Some citizens "abroad or working in oceans" were apparently unable to participate, per the BBC. (Read more North Korea stories.)

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