Leader of the Workers' Party of Korea

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Leader (Chairman) of the
Workers' Party of Korea
조선로동당 위원장
WPK symbol.svg
Logo of the Workers' Party of Korea
Flag of the Workers' Party of Korea.svg
Flag of the Workers' Party of Korea
Kim Jong-un at the Workers' Party of Korea main building.png
Incumbent
Kim Jong-un

since 9 May 2016
Workers' Party of Korea
Type Party leader
Nominator WPK Congress
Appointer WPK Congress
Term length No fixed term
Constituting instrument WPK Charter
Inaugural holder Kim Tu-bong
Formation 28 August 1946
Deputy Vice Chairman
Leader of the Workers' Party of Korea
Chosŏn'gŭl 조선로동당 위원장
Hancha 朝鮮勞動黨 委員長
Revised Romanization Joseon Rodongdang Wiwonjang
McCune–Reischauer Chosŏn Rodongdang Wiwonjang
Emblem of North Korea.svg
This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of
Democratic People's Republic of Korea

The leader of the Workers' Party of Korea (WPK) is ex officio the Chairman of the Central Military Commission of North Korea and of the State Affairs Commission, and hence the country's Supreme Leader. Since the WPK's formation in 1946, the leader's post has been titled as Chairman (1946–1966), General Secretary (1966–2011, vacant from 1994–1997), First Secretary (2011–2016), and Chairman again since 2016.

The office of Chairman of the Central Committee was established at the 1st Congress (held in August 1946), and elected Kim Tu-bong (who was not a member of the Kim family) to the office.[1] After the WPNK merged with its southern counterpart in 1949, Premier Kim Il-sung, who had held the real power since independence, became chairman of the merged party.

The post was replaced at the October 1966 2nd Conference by the General Secretary of the Central Committee; through this office, Kim Il-sung became the formal head of the party's Secretariat.[2] After Kim Il-sung's death in 1994, the post was vacant for three years.[3] On 8 October 1997, Kim Jong-il was appointed to the new office of General Secretary of the Workers' Party of Korea in a joint announcement by the Central Committee (CC) and the Central Military Commission (CMC) of the Workers' Party of Korea: "[The CC and the CMC] pronounce comrade Kim Jong-il as general secretary of the party, based upon the wishes of the entire People's Army, people, and the members of the party."[3] At the 3rd Conference, the party charter was amended to require the general secretary to concurrently chair the Central Military Commission.[4] When Kim Jong-il died the WPK left the post of General Secretary vacant at the 4th Conference, making him "Eternal General Secretary".[5] Kim Jong-un was elected to the office of First Secretary of the Workers' Party of Korea,[5] which was established to "represent and lead the whole party as its head and materialize the ideas and lines of Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-il."[6] At the 7th WPK Congress the office of First Secretary of the Workers' Party of Korea was abolished, and replaced by the office of Chairman of the Workers' Party of Korea.[7]

The WPK Chairman alongside his vice chairmen make up the WPK Executive Policy Bureau.[7] The office of Vice Chairman and the organ of the Executive Policy Bureau was established at the 7th WPK Congress in 2017.[7] Currently there are 9 vice chairmen; Choe Ryong-hae, Kim Ki-nam, Choe Thae-bok, Ri Su-yong, Kim Phyong-hae, O Su-yong, Kwak Pom-gi, Kim Yong-chol and Ri Man-gon.[8] The Executive Policy Bureau replaced the Secretariat, but its still unknown how and if these two organs have an institutionally different roles from one another.[7]

Leader offices

Note CC is an abbreviation for Central Committee of the Workers' Party of Korea and CMC an abbreviation for the Central Military Commission of the Workers' Party of Korea.

Title Existence Established
Chairman of the Central Committee of the Workers' Party of Korea 1946–1966 1st Congress
General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Workers' Party of Korea 1966–1997 2nd Congress
General Secretary of the Workers' Party of Korea 1997–2012 Joint CC–CMC Communique
First Secretary of the Workers' Party of Korea 2012–2016 4th Congress
Chairman of the Workers' Party of Korea 2016–present 7th Congress

Leaders

Name
(birth–death)
Portrait Took office Left office Length of tenure
Kim Tu-bong
(1889–1958)
Kim Tu-bong.jpg 28 August 1946 30 June 1949 2 years and 307 days
Kim Il-sung
(1912–1994)
Kim Il Sung Portrait-2.jpg 30 June 1949 8 July 1994 45 years and 9 days
Kim Jong-il
(1941–2011)
Kim Jong il Portrait.jpg 8 October 1997 17 December 2011 14 years and 71 days
Kim Jong-un
(born 1984)
Kim Jong-un at the Workers' Party of Korea main building.png 11 April 2012 Incumbent 6 years and 70 days

Eternal General Secretary

Name
(birth–death)
Portrait Designated
Kim Jong-il
(1941–2011)
Kim Jong il Portrait.jpg 11 April 2012

References

Footnotes

  1. ^ Lankov 2002, p. 31.
  2. ^ Buzo 1999, p. 34.
  3. ^ a b Yŏnʼguso 1997, p. 668.
  4. ^ "4th Party Conference To Convene in "mid-April"". North Korea Leadership Watch. 2 February 2012. Retrieved 12 March 2013. 
  5. ^ a b Gause 2013, pp. 40–41.
  6. ^ Frank 2013, p. 45.
  7. ^ a b c d Madden, Michael (20 May 2016). "Deciphering the 7th Party Congress: A Teaser for Greater Change?". 38North. Retrieved 29 April 2018. 
  8. ^ "The Party". North Korean Leadership Watch. Retrieved 29 April 2018. 

Bibliography

Articles, books and journal entries

Books

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