This week saw the election of the 14th Supreme People’s Assembly which went by without a hitch. Many analysts noted that Marshall Kim Jong Un was not on the ballot (having previously represented the 111th Paektusan district since 2014). There are many potential reasons for this decision but it is in no way a symbol of a weakening grip on power; it should be viewed as an example of the malleability of the DPRK’s political system and perhaps a move to make the county appear more ‘normal’ since Marshall Kim Jong Un serves as the Commander-in-Chief and as the executive branch of government and somebody in his position would not usually hold a legislative position in a Presidential democracy. Aside from this small nugget of interesting news the election was carried out as usual with an almost 100% turnout and 687 deputies, some old and some new, taking up positions in the 14th Assembly.
Interior of the Mansudae Assembly Hall
Despite the SPA serving officially as the highest legislative organ in the government the real power is wielded by a variety of different agencies in both the government and the Worker’s Party. Some of the most powerful figures in the country are members of the Supreme People’s Assembly but exercise their true political might in other organisations such as the State Affairs Commission or the Worker’s Party Central Committee.
To find out more about how the government fits together around the Supreme People’s Assembly we have a short video: https://youtu.be/IsPULdCmxCQ