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North Koreans Cast Ballots in Rubber-Stamp Elections


More than 90 percent of eligible voters in North Korea, including the country's leader Kim Jong Il, cast their ballots in parliamentary elections Sunday.

North Korea's government-run Central News Agency reports that Mr. Kim himself ran as a candidate in a Pyongyang district, but that he voted for an army officer from another district. No other details were given.

Election results are due Monday.

The elections in the communist country are only a formality since candidates are picked by the government and only one stands in each district.

But the polls are closely watched around the world for clues to who will succeed Mr. Kim.

South Korean officials have said that said Mr. Kim has tapped his youngest son, Swiss-educated Kim Jong Un, to succeed him.

South Korean news reports say that 26-year-old Kim Jong Un is also running for a seat in this election.

Kim Jong Il took office after his father, Kim Il Sung, died in July of 1994.

The elections were not held last year after the assembly's five-year term expired, supporting allegations that the reclusive leader suffered a stroke in August.

North Korean officials have vehemently denied the reports of his illness.

Since then, North Korean media have reported on Mr. Kim's official visits around the country, showing undated photographs of him. In January, Mr. Kim received a senior Chinese official, the first foreign visitor to see him following reports of his illness.

South Korean and US officials say the 67-year-old leader has made a good recovery from his stroke and is still in control of his country.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

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