North Korean state media reported the results of this week’s presidential election in South Korea on Friday, surprising citizens who were not used to hearing political news from the South so soon after the nomination of the President. new leader, residents told RFA.

“Yoon Suk Yeol, a candidate for the conservative opposition ‘People Power Party’, narrowly won the 20th ‘presidential election’ held in South Korea on March 9,” the Central News Agency reported. Korean (KCNA). Friday on the English version of its website.

A Korean version also emphasizes the party name and the word “president”.

The brief report did not mention Yoon’s 0.8% margin of victory or his opponent, Lee Jae-myung of the ruling Democratic Party.

The website of the Rodong Sinmoun newspaper published the same report in Korean.

Citizens did not expect to see news in their local media so soon after the election, a resident of the northwestern province of North Pyongan told RFA’s Korea Service on Friday.

“Authorities are generally reluctant to release information about South Korea’s democratic and free electoral system,” said the source, who requested anonymity for security reasons.

“Usually, when a Conservative party candidate is elected, the name of the winner is not mentioned, or it is reported late. That is why today’s Rodong Sinmun report…is considered unusual,” said she declared.

While some residents of the northeastern province of North Hamgyong reacted to the news with indifference, others were jealous, a resident who requested anonymity to speak freely told RFA.

“They couldn’t hide their envy of the democratic system in South Korea in which the Supreme Leader is directly elected by the people,” the second source said, using the term by which North Koreans refer to their generational and dynastic leaders. .

Retired officials and students who confirmed the results of South Korea’s 20th presidential election had a bitter look on their faces. We also have elections here in North Korea. However, there is only one candidate, shortlisted by the party, and we have to vote for the only candidate.

Yoon will be sworn in as South Korean president on May 10, 2022. Analysts predict his North Korean strategy will be more hawkish than his predecessor Moon Jae-in, who prioritized engagement with the North.

Translated by Leejin Jun. Written in English by Eugene Whong.