24/7 Tass 41
PYONGYANG, July 24 (Itar-Tass) — North Korea is holding the elections to local bodies of self-rule on Sunday in a festive atmosphere. Many voters in Pyongyang – men in white shirts and women in beautiful traditional Korean dresses – came to polling stations long before their opening and staged dancing under open skies.
Brass bands play in many Pyongyang districts, while the best show biz companies stage their concert programmes. Colourful posters in the streets call on the population to fulfill their civil duty and to participate in the voting by all means.
The voting started at 09.00 local time. Around 40 percent of the electorate voted by 11.00. Preliminary results will be announced on Monday and final – on Tuesday.
Provincial legislative assemblies, city and district councils will be determined as a result of direct voting by secret ballot. Since only one candidate is nominated at every constituency, there is no pre-election race in North Korea, while advertising is aimed here mostly at ensuring the highest turnout.
Foreign reporters – correspondents of Itar-Tass, the Chinese Xinhua news agency and Chinese central television – were invited to polling station No.134, located at the North Korean National Economy University. The chairman of the North Korean Central Election Commission told Itar-Tass that “our country will mark the centenary of Kim Il-Sung’s birth date when the country will flung open its doors to the building of the mighty and prosperous state”.
Therefore, the present elections, he continued, “are called upon to consolidate people’s power and to demonstrate the nation’s unity”.
The chairman said that any candidate over 17 had the right to participate in the campaign. In compliance with the republican Constitution, the term of office of deputies of local bodies of self-rule who are called here “servants of people”, is four years. Sessions of these bodies of power, called once or twice a year, confirm local budgets and an economic action plan as well as elect chairmen of people’s and administrative committees, judges and assessors.
According to official data, 99.82 percent of registered voters participated in the elections of bodies of local self-rule, held in 2007. According to press reports, all voters unanimously backed nominated candidates; all in all, 27,390 deputies of local bodies of self-government were elected.