By the Numbers: North Korea’s Local Elections

North Korea held local elections on July 19, for the first time since Kim Jong-un took power in December 2011. The elections for people’s assemblies were held in provincial (municipal), city (district), and county level, with the number of seats based on the population of each jurisdiction. We examine North Korea’s local election by the numbers.


The number of candidates that appeared on the ballot in each jurisdiction. The uncontested candidates were nominated by the Democratic Front for the Reunification of the Fatherland coalition, which is headed by the Workers’ Party of Korea.

Pyongyang, DPRK. Source: Jensowagner's flickr photostream, used under a creative commons license.

Pyongyang, DPRK. Source: Jensowagner’s flickr photostream, used under a creative commons license.


The number of years the newly elected people’s assembly representatives will serve. In contrast, members of the Supreme People’s Assembly, the national legislature of North Korea, serve a five-year term.


The number of candidates elected in total to the local people’s assemblies. The population of North Korea is estimated to be about 24.9 million.


The percentage of total voter turnout, which is exactly the same as voter turnout for the elections in 2011. Voting is mandatory in North Korea and abstaining from voting or failing to appear is considered an act of treason. The missing 0.03 percent are said to be those on foreign tours or working overseas.


The candidate approval rate of this year’s election. In theory, voters can cast a vote of disapproval by crossing out the name of the candidate in a special polling booth.


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