N Korea changes constitution to solidify Kim Jong-un's rule

August 30, 2019 08:56
North Korea's new constitution authorizes Kim Jong-un to promulgate legislative ordinances and major decrees and decisions. Photo: KCNA via Reuters

North Korea’s parliament has approved changes to the country’s constitution to solidify leader Kim Jong-un’s role as head of state, Reuters reports, citing Pyongyang's state media.

Kim’s legal status as “representing our state has been further consolidated to firmly ensure the monolithic guidance of the Supreme Leader over all state affairs”, a North Korean official was quoted as saying by state news agency KCNA. 

The move comes after Kim was formally named head of state and commander-in-chief of the military in a new constitution in July.

The head of the presidium of the supreme people’s assembly had historically been the nominal head of state.

But the new constitution says Kim, as chairman of the State Affairs Commission (SAC), a top governing body created in 2016, is the supreme representative of all the Korean people, as well as “commander-in-chief”.

A previous constitution simply called Kim the “supreme leader” who commanded the country’s “overall military force”.

The new constitution authorizes Kim to promulgate legislative ordinances and major decrees and decisions and appoint or recall diplomatic envoys to foreign countries, KCNA said.

Thursday’s constitutional amendments appear to confirm that North Korea’s legal system will now recognize Kim as head of state, Reuters noted.

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