Fri, Apr 10, 2009 - Page 5 News List

Kim Jong-il keeps leadership position in parliament vote


North Korea’s rubber-stamp parliament yesterday re-elected the country’s leader, Kim Jong-il, to the government’s highest post.

The Supreme People’s Assembly reconfirmed the “dear leader” as the chairman of the National Defense Commission, state media reported. The commission is the most powerful body in North Korea’s government.

Kim’s third re-election was a formality in the single-party, totalitarian state, but observers said it shored up Kim’s position and power within the regime after the 67-year-old, according to South Korean intelligence officials, suffered a stroke over the summer.

His health was seen as the reason assembly elections were postponed by half a year until last month.

It remained unclear, however, whether Kim — who has led North Korea since July 1994 after the death of his father, “Eternal President” Kim I-sung — would take part in the assembly session.

The vote came four days after North Korea defied international warnings and launched a rocket. It said the launch was of a communications satellite and was successful, but the US, South Korea and Japan said it was made to test an intercontinental ballistic missile and failed.

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