Kim Jong-un and 686 other candidates approved by the government were voted into the North Korean parliament in Sunday’s election, state media announced on Tuesday, with every nominee returned with 100 percent of the vote in their constituencies.
Mr Kim was returned to the 14th Supreme People’s Assembly from his Mount Paektu constituency and will be joined in the nation’s parliament by his sister, Kim Yo-jong, the Korean Central News Agency reported.
Fully 99.99 percent of all eligible voters had exercised their democratic right to select their leaders, KCNA reported, with citizens serving at sea excused the obligation to vote.
The results of the election were never in any doubt – each ballot paper only has one name and anyone who wants to vote against the approved candidate has to enter a special booth and put a cross through the name – but defectors say that Mr Kim’s standing has been damaged by his failure to win concessions on sanctions on the regime at the recent Hanoi summit with President Donald Trump.
“Mr Kim expected a lot from this summit”, said Lee Ae-ran, who fled North Korea with her family in 1997 but retains contacts there as president of The Centre for Liberty and Reunification.
“It was more than simply relief from the sanctions; he believed a victory in Hanoi would earn him more support from the people, enabling him to tighten his control over the nation even more”.
And while discontent was never going to be reflected in Sunday’s election, Mrs Lee says it is not far beneath the surface.
“The sanctions are causing the economic devastation to spread in the North and people are struggling to overcome the terrible shortage of food”, she told The Telegraph. “I believe the grudges they hold towards Kim could worsen and possibly even explode.
“Any rupture could be lethal to Kim Jong-un and his regime”, she added.
Mrs Lee said the North Korean dictator will use the election to “replace the ‘older generation’, who were loyal to his father, with his own group of flatterers”, but she believes the resentment will inevitably deepen.
“If the people in the North can continue to build stronger connections with the outside world and complaints against the party and the leadership continue to grow, then the people will realise that they can escape from the abuse that they are presently suffering at the hands of their own leaders”, she said.
Jiro Ishimaru, chief editor of AsiaPress, said his network of “citizen reporters” in North Korea is saying that there is “extreme disappointment” at the failure of the Hanoi summit, which the regime had indicated would be a victory for Mr Kim that would see sanctions quickly lifted.
There is a growing sense that Mr Kim “is an incompetent person”, he added.
source: The Telegraph