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The elections of township-level People’s Committees of North Korea in 1947

  • The Review of Korean History
  • 2014, (115), pp.381-422
  • Publisher : The Historical Society Of Korea
  • Research Area : Humanities > History

JEON HYUN SOO 1

1경북대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

In February-March 1947, the elections of township-level People’s Committees took place in every part of North Korea. These elections transformed the temporary local authorities into permanent organs of the government. The elections did not end with endowing the local authorities with legitimacy. In February 1947, the provincial, municipal, and county People’s Committees convened and formed the People’s Council of North Korea, the highest sovereign organization, and the People’s Committee of North Korea, the highest executive organization. Indeed, the People’s Committee elections had ignited North Korea’s nation-building project. The People’s Committee elections served to establish Soviet democracy early in North Korean society. The elections not only institutionalized a sociopolitical mobilization system that connected the Workers' Party of North Korea, the North Korean Provisional People’s Committee, the United Democratic National Front of North Korea, parties and social organizations, and the general public, but also strengthened the leadership role of the Workers’ Party. Even though the election rules followed the principles of general, equal, and direct election and of secret ballot, only the parties and social organizations belonging to the United Democratic National Front of North Korea could exercise the right to recommend candidates. Therefore, the power of the electorate to choose a candidate to best represent its interests became highly limited. Since the electorate had to vote either for or against the United Front candidate by casting ballots in a black or white box, the election could not guarantee secrecy and essentially blocked the negative vote.

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