Kim Jong-Un stands as MP, with 100% backing guaranteed

AS IF being the supreme leader of a dictatorship is not enough, Kim Jong-Un has decided to stand in North Korea's parliamentary elections next month.

According to the Korean Central News Agency, he was unanimously nominated to stand for the 'divine' Mount Paektu constituency, where his father Kim Jong-Il  claimed to have been born.

The nomination was celebrated with a dance party for military personnel in the constituency, which wound up with a lively rendition of the song We Will Defend General Kim Jong-Un at the Cost of Our Lives.

The national assembly is largely a rubber-stamping body with little authority, but many top North Korean officials have been members, including Kim Jong-Un's father when he was in power.

The elections – which are held every five years – take place on 9 March and offer an insight into Pyongyang's power shifts, with the opportunity to see if any senior figures are removed from the candidates' list.

Kim Jong-Un has already overseen sweeping changes within the country's ruling elite, including the dramatic execution of his powerful uncle and political mentor Jang Song-Thaek on charges of treason and corruption.

The supreme leader's success in the polls is a foregone conclusion, with only one approved candidate standing for each of the 687 districts.

"In theory, voters can reject him or her by crossing the name out at a designated table," says The Times. "But given how obvious this would be, and the harsh punishments meted out to dissenters, it is no surprise that turnout is close to 100 per cent and the results are unanimous."

To abstain or cast a 'no' vote would result in the "destruction of the dissenter's family", explains News Focus International, a news site set up by North Korean exiles.

But there is said to be a more sinister reason why the so-called elections are held. It is when the North Korean state conducts a "comprehensive crackdown on missing individuals", says News Focus International. Families of those who have escaped the dictatorship may be able to lie or bribe surveillance agents at other times of the year. "But it is during an election period that a North Korean individual's escape to China or South Korea becomes exposed."

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