March 13, 2019 09:59
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un was not on the ballot for the election to the Supreme People's Assembly on Sunday.
He is the first supreme leader of the North who has not been elected a member of the rubber-stamp parliament.
State media called the names of all 687 newly elected deputies, but Kim was not among them. In the last election in March 2014, he was duly elected as there is only one state-approved candidate in each district.
"The SPA is nothing but a rubber-stamp parliament," said Ryu Dong-ryeol of the Korea Institute of Liberal Democracy. "It seems that Kim, having made his debut on the international stage, has given up his seat to make his country look more like a normal state."
Kim also recently ordered propaganda officials to stop "mystifying" him.
But Kim's sister Yo-jong was elected. Also elected were Ri Su-yong, vice chairman of the Workers Party Central Committee; Ri Son-gwon, chairman of the Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the Fatherland; Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho; and Vice Foreign Minister Choe Son-hui.
Chief North Korean negotiator with the U.S. Kim Hyok-chol was not on the list of elected candidates, perhaps because he faces a purge for the recent failed summit with the U.S.
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