North Koreans cast ballots in local elections

SEOUL (AFP) - North Koreans cast ballots Sunday in state-controlled polls to elect new representatives put forward by the ruling party for assemblies at provincial, city and county levels, state media said.

All polling stations were "clad in a festive atmosphere" with voters dancing and singing, according to Pyongyang's official Korean Central News Agency.

Typically, 99 per cent of North Korean voters in the de facto single-party state take part in elections and 99 percent of them cast "yes" votes for uncontested candidates.

In 2011, 28,116 representatives were elected as deputies to local assemblies with not a single vote of opposition to the candidates.

During each four-year term, the local assemblies convene once or twice a year to approve budgets and endorse leaders appointed by the ruling party.

The North, which the Kim dynasty has ruled with an iron fist for more than six decades, held elections to its rubber-stamp parliament last year.

North Korean elections have in the past been an opportunity to see if any established names are absent.

South Korean intelligence officials say dozens of senior North Korean officials have been purged since Kim Jong-Un took power following the death of his father Kim Jong-Il in December 2011.

His most high-profile purge to date has been that of his once powerful uncle Jang Song-Thaek, who was condemned as "factionalist scum" following his execution in 2013.

He also replaced his defence minister in April.