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Defector suggests N. Korea pushing for constitutional amendment for leader Kim

North Korea 21:27 March 18, 2019

SEOUL, March 18 (Yonhap) -- A high-profile North Korean defector suggested Monday that North Korea may be pushing for an amendment to its Constitution in a way that will stipulate that its leader Kim Jong-un is the official head of state.

Thae Yong-ho, a former deputy North Korean ambassador to Britain, raised the theory on his blog in light of the result of Pyongyang's latest rubber-stamp parliamentary elections that ended with Kim holding no post at all.

North Korea held nationwide polls on March 10 and elected 687 deputies for the 14th Supreme People's Assembly (SPA).

Kim was not on the list unveiled by its state media, the first time in North Korean history that the leader has not held a seat in the SPA.

Kim is the ruler of the communist state, but under the North's Constitution, the head of state is Kim Yong-nam, president of the Presidium of the Supreme People's Assembly.

Thae, who defected to South Korea in 2016, supposed that North Korea may be preparing a constitutional revision so as to pave the way for Kim to gain legal legitimacy in addition to being the regime's leader in reality as part of the process to turn North Korea into a "normal state."

"I believe that it's part of North Korea's plan to make sure the Constitution clearly reflects that Kim Jong-un is the head of state, by either creating a new position or making his current position be that," he wrote.

Thae predicted that some kind of announcement could be made at the first session of the newly elected parliament slated for next month.

"If it really happens, Kim Yong-nam's post will be abolished," he added.

A photo of Thae Yong-ho, former deputy North Korean ambassador to Britain (Yonhap)

A photo of Thae Yong-ho, former deputy North Korean ambassador to Britain (Yonhap)


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