August 30, 2019 13:37
North Korea's rubberstamp parliament on Thursday passed a new Constitution that radically concentrates power in the hands of leader Kim Jong-un.
The Supreme People's Assembly approved the constitutional revision in a rare second meeting of the year at the Mansudae Assembly Hall in Pyongyang.
According to state TV, the head of the SPA, Choe Ryong-hae, stressed the need to further consolidate Kim's legal status to "ensure the monolithic guidance of the supreme leader over all state affairs."
He said under the new Constitution, Kim is the "supreme leader of the party, state and armed forces of [North Korea] in accordance with the unanimous will and desire of all the [North] Korean people, both in name and reality."
Kim did not show up at the session. Among other largely formal provisions, the new Constitution stipulates that the chairman of the State Affairs Commission, which is one of Kim’s titles, will no longer even be elected by SPA deputies.
The document merely enshrines in formal law what is already the case in the dictatorship, but the regime apparently felt there was a need to formalize it. In its April session, the SPA also made constitutional revisions, but that seems to have been deemed lacking in some respects.
Nam Joo-hong at Kyonggi University, said, "The purpose of the session was to emphasize autocratic rule and tighten controls as the economy gets worse."
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