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World > Asia > Korea, North > Government and Political Conditions (Notes)

Korea, North - Government and Political Conditions (Notes)


GOVERNMENT AND POLITICAL CONDITIONS
North Korea has a centralized government under the rigid control of the communist Korean Workers' Party (KWP), to which all government officials belong. A few minor political parties are allowed to exist in name only. Kim Il-sung ruled North Korea from 1948 until his death in July 1994. Kim served both as Secretary General of the KWP and as President of North Korea.

Little is known about the actual lines of power and authority in the North Korean Government despite the formal structure set forth in the constitution. Following the death of Kim Il-sung, his son--Kim Jong-il--inherited supreme power. Kim Jong-il was named General Secretary of the KWP in October 1997, and in September 1998, the Supreme People's Assembly (SPA) reconfirmed Kim Jong-il as Chairman of the National Defense Commission and declared that position as the 'highest office of state.' However, the President of the Presidium of the National Assembly, Kim Yong-nam, serves as the nominal head of state. North Korea's 1972 constitution was amended in late 1992 and in September 1998.

The constitution designates the Central People's Committee (CPC) as the government's top policymaking body. The CPC makes policy decisions and supervises the cabinet, or State Administration Council (SAC). The SAC is headed by a premier and is the dominant administrative and executive agency.

Officially, the legislature, the SPA, is the highest organ of state power. Its members are elected every four years. Usually only two meetings are held annually, each lasting a few days. A standing committee elected by the SPA performs legislative functions when the Assembly is not in session. In reality, the Assembly serves only to ratify decisions made by the ruling KWP.

North Korea's judiciary is 'accountable' to the SPA and the president. The SPA's standing committee also appoints judges to the highest court for four-year terms that are concurrent with those of the Assembly.

Administratively, North Korea is divided into nine provinces and four provincial-level municipalities--Pyongyang, Chongjin, Nampo, and Kaesong. It also appears to be divided into nine military districts.

Principal Party and Government Officials
Kim Jong-il--General Secretary of the KWP; Supreme Commander of the People's Armed Forces; Chairman of the National Defense Commission; son of North Korea's founder Kim Il-sung
Kim Yong-nam--President of the Presidium of the Supreme People's Assembly; titular head of state
Pak Gil-yon--Ambassador to D.P.R.K. Permanent Mission to the UN
Vacant--Minister of Foreign Affairs (Foreign Minister Paek Nam-sun died January 3, 2007)


Facts at a Glance: Geography - People - Government - Economy - Communications - Transportation - Military - Climate - Current Time - Ranking Positions
Notes and Commentary: People - Economy - Government and Political Conditions - Foreign Relations - Relations with U.S.



Facts at a Glance
Geography
People
Government
Economy
Communications
Transportation
Military
Climate
Current Time
Ranking Positions


Notes and Commentary
People
Economy
Government and Political Conditions
Foreign Relations
Relations with U.S.





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