New Faces Make up Half of N.Korea's New Parliament

  • By Kim Myong-song

    March 12, 2014 09:39

    North Korea's state-run media on Tuesday revealed the names of the 687 members of the country's rubber-stamp parliament who were elected unanimously amid a 99.97 percent voter turnout.

    The election saw 55 percent of the Supreme People's Assembly members replaced, suggesting that new officials were elected to support North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. The previous elections five years ago replaced 45 percent of members.

    One candidate who was elected is named Kim Kyong-hui, but it is unclear whether that is Kim Jong-un's aunt of the same name. In the previous election, two candidates had the same name.

    Kim Jong-un's younger sister Yo-jong, who was photographed accompanying her brother to a polling station last week, was not on the final list of candidates. Also absent were Kim Jong-un's other siblings Jong-chol and Sol-song.

    Kim Yong-ju, Kim's great-uncle and brother of nation founder Kim Il-sung, kept his position as honorary vice chairman of the parliament's standing committee.

    But a number of officials seen frequently at the North Korean leader's side trips were elected. People's Armed Forces Minister Jang Jong-nam and Lt. Gens. Kim Su-gil and Pak Jong-chon were elected for the first time.

    Kim Kyok-sik

    Also on the list were former army chief Kim Kyok-sik, who supervised the sinking of the Navy corvette Cheonan and shelling of Yeonpyeong Island, and Choe Chun-sik, the head of the Second Academy of Natural Science, which is responsible for Pyongyang's missile program.

    Officials who played a key role in purging former eminence grise Jang Song-taek were elected as well, including Ma Won-chun, deputy director of the secretive Finance and Accounting Department.

    But some officials who had been close to Jang were also elected, including Ambassador to China Ji Jae-ryong, Deputy Premier Ro Tu-chol, and Gen. Choe Pu-il, minister of people's security.

    Ceremonial head of state Kim Yong-nam, Prime Minister Park Pong-ju and military politburo chief Choe Ryong-hae were also re-elected, as were First Vice Foreign Minister Kim Kye-gwan and Minister for State Security Kim Won-hong.

    Kim Yong-nam has been a Supreme People's Assembly member for 42 years.

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