North Korea will hold “the 13th election for deputies of the Supreme People’s Assembly on March 9th,” the Rodong Sinmun announced today.
Deputies of the Supreme People’s Assembly represent 687 constituencies and serve for five years, with the last election held in March 2009.
It is believed in some quarters that the upcoming reshuffle will provide an opportunity for the regime to weed out any remaining loyalists of Jang Song Taek.
Since Jang’s execution last month, new personnel have been appointed to key postings, including Minister of Coal Industry Mun Myong Hak, Minister of Metal Industry Kim Yong Kwang and Cabinet Chief Secretariat Kim Jong Ha.
The decision to hold elections was made by the Presidium of the Supreme People’s Assembly, North Korea’s most powerful supervisory body. Established in 1948, the Presidium implements the orders of Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il, and sets guidelines for both domestic and international policy. It has the authority to promote and recall core members of central state organs, including the National Defense Commission, the Cabinet and the Supreme Court.
Naturally, the new power shakeup is set to generate intense speculation over the future direction of national and economic policy.
Ahn Chan Il of the World Institute for North Korea Studies told Daily NK, “It seems that the all-powerful regime of Kim Jong Eun will be formalized through the Supreme People’s Assembly for the world to see. This (election) could present an opportunity to revise the law, including amendments to the constitution, the ironing out issues related to land and the selection of special economic zones.”