North Korea to Hold ‘Elections’ in March

A formality, but potentially an interesting one

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KCNA / Reuters

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un (C) visits the Aquatic Products Refrigerating Facilities, which is newly built by KPA Unit 534, in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) January 7, 2014.

North Korea announced Wednesday that parliamentary elections will be held on March 9, an event which could shed some light on the shifting balance of power in the hermit nation’s elite, especially following the execution last month of Kim Jong Un’s influential uncle.

The ballot is being viewed as a formality since candidates are believed to be hand-picked by the Workers’ Party, but it will still be viewed closely by analysts as the first poll since Kim assumed power.

Cheong Seong-jang, of South Korean think-tank Sejong Institute, said he expects the 30-year-old despot to use the occasion to promote a younger cadre of loyal legislators.