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North Korea steps up propaganda ahead of regional elections

The state has asked North Koreans to donate valuables to beautify the voting booths around the country ahead of uncompetitive elections.

By Elizabeth Shim
A North Korean poster urging citizens to vote "yes" at the polls. North Korea has heightened propaganda activities ahead of regional elections on July 19. Photo by Yonhap
A North Korean poster urging citizens to vote "yes" at the polls. North Korea has heightened propaganda activities ahead of regional elections on July 19. Photo by Yonhap

SEOUL, July 15 (UPI) -- North Korea has launched propaganda initiatives nationwide ahead of regional elections, but sources inside the country say the state's campaigns are creating a disturbance.

The regional elections are held every four years in the reclusive country at the city, county and provincial levels, South Korean outlet Newsis reported. Candidates are elected to local people's assemblies.

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According to the pro-Pyongyang Choson Sinbo in Japan, all of North Korea is "stirred up" in anticipation of voting day.

"As elections approach, in order for campaigns to unfold at various levels, activities are occurring at full throttle, and they are [in turn] elevating the mood of the election," read an article in the Choson Sinbo.

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The Japan-based media outlet reported the names of all candidates were made public on July 4.

Local elections in North Korea are not competitive, because all candidates are elected by the Democratic Front for the Reunification of the Fatherland, which is led by the Workers' Party of North Korea.

Not all are happy with the election-related activities.

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North Koreans have been asked to donate valuables to beautify the voting booths around the country, and one source in North Hamkyong Province told Radio Free Asia the campaigns are creating disturbances.

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"I don't understand why [the authorities] need to blast so much propaganda when all are required to vote yes," the source said.

Students as young as nine have been required to volunteer from morning to evening on campaign activities, another source said.

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North Korean state newspaper Rodong Sinmun has voiced concerns about anti-Pyongyang antagonists ahead of the elections, Yonhap reported.

In its July 10 issue, North Korea warned against "enemies" intent on destroying the state's system of "our style socialism" by "raising the temperature on false accusations."

North Korea said voters should increase their "revolutionary vigilance."

Voter participation is required in North Korea and no-shows are investigated, according to South Korea press.

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