DPRK's Election System and SPA


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A poster calling on people to go to the July 26 poll.

 

DPRK's Election System

In the DPRK, the Supreme People's Assembly (SPA) will serve for 5 years according to Article 90 of the DPRK Socialist Constitution.

SPA's next election will be held in pursuance of the decision given by its standing committee before the current term expires.
See:
Chronology of Supreme People's Assembly
See also: Supreme People's Assembly to Be Held July 26 (KCNA)

The last 9th SPA election was held in April 1990. Based on the Constitution, the term of 9th SPA deputies should have expired, as the first session of the 9th SPA was held in May 1990. Their term has already been extended for three years.

However, the Socialist Constitution also provides that the term of SPA can be extended when "an unavoidable situation" prevents an election.

Thus, after the death of President Kim Il Sung in July 1994, the DPRK set a three-year mourning period and it prevented the country from holding an SPA election as scheduled.

Assuming that the coming 10th SPA election will be held in a regular procedure, the first session of the 10th SPA will be held immediately after the election, and the future domestic and foreign policy and the new heads of leading government organizations will be named.

In first sessions of the past three SPAs (7th SPA, Apr. 5, 1982; 8th SPA, Dec. 29-30, 1986; 9th SPA, May 23, 1990), the meeting covered three agenda items, 1) election of the DPRK President, 2) election of officials of the DPRK state leading organs and 3) results of the fulfillment of the state budget for the previous year and the state budget for the next year.

The SPA's first session is to be held within one month after the election. At the same time, prior to the SPA's first session, a plenary meeting of the Central Committee of the Workers' Party of Korea is convened to draft and decide on the government policy, since Article 11 of the Constitution stipulates that the DPRK should carry out all the activities under the leadership of the Workers' Party of Korea.

For example, the 18th Plenary Session of the 6th WPK Central Committee was held on May 23, 1990 prior to the First Session of the 9th SPA. It discussed, "The proposal of the Party Central Committee on the state and government composition to be submitted to the deliberation of the First Session of the 9th Supreme People's Assembly."

 

Q&A on Supreme People's Assembly

Q: What is SPA?

A: Representing the DPRK citizens of all walks -- workers, farmers, soldiers and intellectuals put together -- the SPA stands as the supreme decision-making organ composed of the deputies who were selected and elected on democratic principle.

The SPA was founded on August 25, 1948 in pursuance of the state-building formula laid down by the late President Kim Il Sung, following the May 10 U.S.-engineered "single" election in the south.

According to Article 90 of the DPRK Socialist Constitution, the SPA will serve for 5 years but its term of business can be extended when an unavoidable situation prevents the election.

All imperative state-affairs such as -- amendment of the constitution, enactment of laws, and election of President -- are put under SPA's supervision.

 

Q: What is the preparation work for SPA election?

A: The election will be held 60 days after its standing-committee publicly announces its opening and set up its election committees in electorates across the DPRK such as, cities, counties and provinces.

Following the announcement of the start of election, the nominees to the deputies will be picked in various places such as, factories, enterprises and cooperative-farms.One nominee represents each electorate, which will have a population of 30,000.

Then, throughout the electorates, recommendation-committees will be convened several times to screen out hopeful candidates (based on a majority rule), who will later be registered as "official nominees" to the deputies by the election-committee and will be publicly known through leaflets and street signboards.

On the voting day, which begins at 10:00 a.m. and closes at 8:00 p.m., voters at first receive ballots; write down their favorites, and put them in the voting boxes which are surrounded by cloth on all sides to protect secrecy.

In case of voting rejection, voters can write off names of deputies on the ballots and put them in the voting boxes.

 

Q: How is the election conducted?

A: According to Article 6 of the DPRK's constitution, secret ballot system is applied to the election, which should be held in "direct manner" based on "universal" and fair.

The "direct manner" means a voter can pick any candidates he or she wants without any other party intervening in his or her voting or taking his or her places. The "universal" means that any DPRK citizens over 17 are eligible for voting or for candidacy regardless of -- sex, nation, occupation, period of settlement, degree of education, property, party affiliation, political view, and religious belief -- except for those deprived of the DPRK citizenship by court decision.

 

Q: What is the composition of the SPA?

A: Take a look at the 9th SPA deputies. Of the 689 deputies, workers account for 37 percent, farmers 10.4 percent, and women 20.1 percent. The Korean Social Democratic Party hold 7.4 percent and the Chondoist Chongu Party occupy 10.6 percent of the seats. Some Korean residents in Japan are also elected deputies of the SPA including Han Duk Su, head of the General Association of the Korean Residents in Japan or Chongryun.

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