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Kim secures 100% election win; younger sister makes official debut

AFP-JIJI

North Korea’s state media confirmed Monday what was never in doubt — a 100 percent, no-abstention poll victory for leader Kim Jong Un in the country’s stage-managed parliamentary election.

Every single vote cast Sunday in Kim’s constituency was for the man who can now add MP to his many titles that include supreme commander of the armed forces and chairman of the powerful National Defense Commission.

“All the voters of the constituency took part in voting and 100 percent of them voted for Kim Jong Un,” the North’s official KCNA news agency said.

“This is an expression of . . . people’s absolute support and profound trust in supreme leader Kim Jong Un as they single-mindedly remain loyal to him, holding him in high esteem,” it said.

The younger sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has made an official debut of sorts, consolidating the grip on power of the ruling Kim dynasty’s third generation.

Sunday’s ballot was an election in name only.

Each of the nearly 700 constituencies had only one state-sanctioned candidate, ensuring a foregone conclusion in every case.

Voting was mandatory and state media said all registered voters across the country — except for those based overseas — took part.

Elections to the Supreme People’s Assembly (SPA) are held every five years, and this was the first under Kim’s leadership. He took over the reins of power on the death of his father, Kim Jong Il, in December 2011.

Kim stood as an uncontested candidate in constituency number 111, Mount Paektu.

Sunday’s vote was also the official debut of Kim Jong Un’s younger sister, Kim Yo Jong, believed to be 26, who, accompanied her elder brother to a polling station.

It was not her first appearance. She was shown on state television in December 2011, tearfully standing next to Kim Jong Un as they attended the funeral of their father.

Since then she has occasionally been seen accompanying her brother on his “field guidance trips”.

Sunday’s outing was different as she was, for the first time, officially listed by her name and as a “senior official” attending the voting function along with several top party and army luminaries.

State TV footage showed Kim in a black skirt suit, walking closely behind her brother and casting her vote into a ballot box.

Her precise position was not detailed, but she is believed to be the events director in Kim Jong Un’s Secretariat Office.

In 2012, Kim Yo Jong was seen on state TV riding a white horse — a common propaganda symbol associated with the Kim family — with her aunt, Kim Kyong Hui.

As Kim Jong Il’s sister, Kim Kyong Hui was an enormously powerful and influential figure who was given the rank of a four-star general.

Together with her husband, Jang Song Thaek, she was seen as the power behind Kim Jong Un’s throne, until the young leader had Jang purged and executed last year.

Ahn Chan Il, head of Seoul-based World Institute for North Korea Studies, said Kim Yo Jong was being groomed to play the same supporting role as her aunt.

“Kim Jong Un and Kim Yo Jong will work in a similar way as their father and Kim Kyong Hui did in securing the future of the Kim dynasty,” Ahn said.

“And Kim Kyong Hui will eventually leave official life as part of the power shift within the family,” he said.

Kim Kyong Hui, 67, has barely been seen in recent years, with reports that she was seriously ill and had sought hospital treatment overseas.