Elections are generally held every five years. At national level, North Koreans elect a legislature - the Supreme Peopleâ€˜s Assembly. Additionally, people elect representatives to city, county, and provincial peopleâ€˜s assemblies. However, the term election is misleading when it comes to North Koreaâ€˜s political system. Candidates for office must be a member of the â€žDemocratic Front for the Reunification of the Fatherlandâ€œ which is a coalition of the countryâ€˜s three political parties. Before elections, each party may nominate candidates for office. The Democratic Front then selects a single nominee for each political post and presents the list to the voters who have the choice of voting for or against each candidate. This means that the people do
not themselves chose representatives but are restricted to merely ratifying candidates chosen by the unelected Democratic Front. Official figures put voter turn-out and approval of candidates usually at roughly 100 percent, a fact that suggests a rather limited choice in the polling booth. Political participation and pluralism also have a distinct North Korean touch: Besides the all-powerful Workerâ€˜s Party of Korea (WPK) two other political parties exist. But they are bound by law to follow the WPKâ€˜s political agenda and therefore differ in name only. Individual political participation is forced by the state as a sign of respect to the â€žDear Leaderâ€œ and therefore mandatory. The refusal to participate in certain political activities is perceived as a lack of support for the government and in turn heavily punished.