Politics of North Korea
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Politics of North Korea
Politics of North KoreaBenedict Gombocz
OverviewThe politics of North Korea, officially the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea, functions in the structure of the countrys official way of life, Juche, a model developed by Hwang Chang-yop and later associated with Kim Il-sung.North Korea, in reality, is a one-party state under a totalitarian family dictatorship, even depicted as an absolute monarchy with Kim Il-Sung and his successors.Even though Economic Intelligence Unit admits that "there is no consensus on how to measure democracy" and that "definitions of democracy are contested, it ranks North Korea last as the most authoritarian rgime in its index of democracy evaluating 167 nations.The political system of North Korea is centered on the principle of centralism. In theory, the constitution promises the protection of human rights, but in reality, there are harsh restrictions on freedom of expression, and the government closely governs way of life.The constitution defines the DPRK as "a dictatorship of the people's democracy under the control of the Workers Party of Korea, which is granted legitimate authority over other parties.In spite of the constitutions provisions for democracy, the Supreme Leader, Kim Jong-un (grandson of Kim Il-sung, the founder of the DPRK and its first leader), in reality, exercises absolute power over the government and the country. Major leaders of North KoreaMajor leaders of North KoreaGovernmentJuche single-party state (de jure), single-party totalitarian military dictatorship under hereditary dictatorship (de facto)Eternal PresidentKim Il-sungEternal WPK General SecretaryKim Jong-ilSupreme LeaderKim Jong-unChairman of the Assembly PresidiumKim Yong-namPremierPak Pong-ju LegislatureSupreme Peoples Assembly Mansudae Assembly Hall, Pyongyang
Mansudae Assembly Hall (interior)
Political map of North Korea
Political parties and elections Elections in North KoreaNorth Korea, according to the constitution, is a Democratic Republic, and the Supreme Peoples Assembly and provincial Peoples Assemblies are elected through direct universal suffrage and secret ballot. Suffrage is promised to all citizens age seventeen and above.Elections in North Korea, in reality, are non-competitive with only single candidate races.Anyone who wishes to vote against the only candidate on the ballot must go to a special booth to cross out the name of that candidate before placing it into the ballot box an approach which, according to many North Korean rebels, is way too dangerous to even consider. All elected candidates belong to the Democratic Front for the Reunification of the Fatherland, a popular front ruled by the Workers Party of Korea (WPK).The Chondoist Chongu Party and the Korean Social Democratic Party, the two smaller parties in the coalition, also have a few elected officials. The WPK exercises direct power over the candidates chosen for election by members of the other two parties. Summary of the Supreme Peoples Assembly election results, 8 March 2009List:Democratic Front for the Reunification of the Fatherland 687 seatsWorkers Party of Korea (Chson Rodong-dang) 606 seatsKorean Social Democratic Party (Chson Sahoeminju-dang) 50 seats Cheondoist Chongu Party (Ch'ndogyo Ch'ng'u-dang) 22 seatsGeneral Association of Korean Residents in Japan(Ch'ongryn) 6 seatsIndependents 3 seatsTotal (99.98% turnout): 687 seats
Workers Party of KoreaWorkers Party of KoreaFounding and governing political party of the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea (North Korea).Single ruling party of North Korea, even though it coexists with two other legal parties that comprise the Democratic Front for the Reunification of the Fatherland.Founded in June 1949 when the Workers Party of North Korea and the Workers Party of South Korea merged. Is organized in accordance with the Monolithic Ideological System and the Great Leader, a system and theory developed by Kim Yong-ju and Kim Jong-il.The WPKs most supreme body is officially the Congress, but a congress has not been assembled since the 6th Congress in 1980.Is (theoretically) similar to other communist parties, but is (in reality) a lot less institutionalized, and informal politics play a bigger role than they normally do. Institutes like the Central Committee, the Secretariat, the Central Military Commission (CMC), the Politburo, and the Presidium have far less power than what is officially given to them by the partys approval.The current leader of the WPK is Kim Jong-un, who serves as First Secretary and CMC Chairman. Logo
Kim Il-sung Kim Il-sungBorn 15 April 1912 in Mangyongdae (now Pyongyang, North Korea), Heian-nando, Japanese Korea.Died 8 July 1994 in Pyongyang, Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea.Leader of North Korea from its founding in 1948 until he died in 1994.Held the positions of PM from 1948-1972 and President from 1972 until his death.Also led the Workers Party of Korea (WPK) from 1949-1994 (as chairman from 1949-1966 and as general secretary from 1966).Approved the invasion of South Korea in 1950, causing a police intervention by the United Nations that was ordered by the United States.On 27 July 1953, a cease-fire was signed in the Korean War.His leadership of North Korea was autocratic, and he established an all-prevalent cult of personality.After the mid-1960s, he advanced his self-established Juche variant of socialist organization, which would subsequently take the place of Marxism-Leninism as the state ideology. At the 6th WPK Congress, his son Kim Jong-il officially succeeded him in 1994.The government of North Korea refers to Kim Il-sung as The Great Leader ( ,widaehan suryng), and he is designated by North Koreas constitution as the nations Eternal President.His birthday, a public holiday in North Korea, is known as the Day of the Sun. Photo
Kim Jong-ilBorn 16 February 1941 in Vyatsokye, Russian SFSR, Soviet Union (Soviet records) or 16 February 1942 in Baekdu Mountain, Japanese Korea (North Korean biography). Died 19 December 2011 in Pyongyang, Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea. Supreme Leader of North Korea from 1994-2011.Succeeded his father and founder of the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea, Kim Il-sung, after the older Kims death in July 1994.Served as General Secretary of the Workers Party of Korea, Chairman of the National Defense Commission of North Korea, and the Supreme Commander of the Korean Peoples Army, the worlds fourth biggest standing army.The constitution of North Korea was amended in April 2009 to make him be referred to as the supreme leader.On 19 December 2011, the government of North Korea announced that he died; his third son, Jong-un, advanced to a senior post in the ruling Workers Party and became his legal successor.
Kim Jong-unBorn 8 January 1983 in Pyongyang.Supreme Leader of North Korea since 17 December 2011.Son of Kim Jong-il (1941-2011) and grandson of Kim Il-sung (1912-1994).Has held these titles: First Secretary of the Workers Party of Korea, Chairman of the Central Military Commission, First Chairman of the National Defense Commission of North Korea, Supreme Commander of the Korean Peoples Army, and committee member of the Politburo of the Workers Party of Korea.Was formally named the supreme leader after his fathers state funeral on 28 December 2011.Third and youngest son of Kim Jong-il and his consort to Ko Young-hee. Photo
Kim Yong-namBorn 4 February 1928 in Heijo, Korea (now Pyongyang, North Korea).Chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme Peoples Assembly of North Korea since September 1998.Previously served as Minister of Foreign Affairs from 1983-1998.Was elected a member of the Presidium of the Politburo of the Central Committee of the Workers Party of Korea in 2010.After he graduated from college, he was a teacher at the Central Party School, vice department director of the WPK Central Committee, vice minister of foreign affairs, and first vice-department director, department director and secretary of the WPK Central Committee, vice-premier of the administration council, and simultaneously, minister of Foreign Affairs.As the chairman of the Presidium, he has been titled the nominal head of state of North Korea.Kim Il-sung, the countrys deceased founder and first leader, is designated in the constitution of North Korea as the nations Eternal President.Nonetheless, Kim Yong-nam accepts the qualifications of diplomats, signs treaties, and meets with visiting heads of state, representing North Korea on all state visits the duties usually done by a head of state in other nations.
Pak Pong-juBorn October 24, 1939 in Hamgyngbukdo, Korea (now North Hamgyong, North Korea).Current Premier of North Korea since April 2013; previously served in the same post from September 2003 to April 2007.Started his career in 1962 as a supervisor of the Yongchon food factory in North Pyongyang Province.Became an alternative member of the ruling Korean Workers Party (KWP) Central Committee in October 1980, and chief of the Namhung Youth Chemical Combine Committee in July 1983.Became vice director of the KWPs Light Industries Department in May 1993, and was vice director of the partys Economic Policy Supervisory Department in March 1994; in July of the same year, he was listed 188th out of 273 total members on the funeral commission of the dead leader Kim Il-sung, hinting that he was on the edge of the elite hierarchy.In September 1998, however, he was nominated as the chemical industries portfolio under premier Hong Song-nam, whom he would replace five years later. Photo
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