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North Koreans Are Voting This Weekend, But Only Have One Candidate To Pick

Millions of North Korean voters, including leader Kim Jong-un, are going to the polls to elect roughly 700 members to the national legislature.

But voters will be presented with just one candidate to vote for.

All North Koreans aged 17 and older are expected to head to the polling booths on Sunday. Turnout to vote is usually reported as 99 percent or higher.

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North Koreans line up to vote during the election. Image: AP

In typical North Korean style, Sunday's vote is more of an endorsement than a competitive contest, with voters presented with just one state-sanctioned candidate per district.

They cast ballots to show their approval or, very rarely, disapproval.

If a voter approves of the candidate, they cast their ballot untouched.

But if they don't they put a line through the candidates name, or in some cases, a 'No' box is provided to mark. 'No' votes must also be cast in a separate ballot box.

A ballot. Image: AP

But doing so would be an incredibly risky move, Fyodor Tertitsky, a North Korea analyst told the BBC.

Tertitsky said voting against the state-sponsored candidate would likely result in being followed by the secret police or being declared insane.

Socialist Women's Union official Song Yang Ran, told AFP that North Korea's election system is the "best", compared to ballots with several names.

"We regard all the people in our country as one family so we will unite with one mind and we will vote for the agreed candidate," Yang said.

A woman receives a ballot. Image: AP

The elections, held every five years, are for the entire Supreme People's Assembly (SPA), which, on paper at least, is the highest organ of power in North Korea and the only legislative body in the country.

The candidates are selected by the ruling Korean Workers' Party, led by Kim Jong-un as chairman, as well as two smaller parties the Social Democratic Party and the Chondoist Chongu Party.

Despite there being three separate parties, they are all grouped together under the Democratic Front for the Reunification of Korea party.

People inspect the list of voters as portrait of a candidate for the national legislature is displayed on the left. Image: AP

However, the SPA is a "rubber stamp body with no power".

"I know that international media often hedge their reporting a bit, saying the SPA has 'little' power or influence - but that's not correct. It has zero," said Tertitsky.

In practice, the SPA rarely meets, instead electing a smaller group of representatives to work in its place.

These representatives write the laws the SPA approves them as a formality.

However, if the SPA was so inclined, it would theoretically have the power to remove Kim Jong-un from power with a mere majority.

With AAP.