North Korea Table of Contents
Kim Il Sung statue, P'yongyang
Courtesy Tracy Woodward
The president is the head of state and the head of government in his capacity as chairman of the Central People's Committee (CPC). The president is elected every four years by the SPA. The title "president" (chusk) was adopted in the 1972 constitution. Before 1972 an approximate equivalent of the presidency was the chairmanship of the Standing Committee of the SPA. The constitution has no provisions for removing, recalling, or impeaching the president, or for limiting the number of terms of service. On May 24, 1990, the SPA unanimously reelected Kim Il Sung to a fifth presidential term.
Presidential powers are stated only in generalities. The chief executive convenes and guides the State Administration Council as occasion demands. Under the 1972 constitution, he was also the supreme commander of the armed forces and chairman of the National Defense Commission--although Kim Il Sung appointed his son to the former position in December 1991 and to the latter position in April 1993 (see National Command Authority , ch. 5). The president's prior assent is required for all laws, decrees, decisions, and directives. The president's edicts command the force of law more authoritatively than any other legislation. The president promulgates the laws and ordinances of the SPA; the decisions of the Standing Committee of the SPA; and the laws, ordinances, and decisions of the CPC. The president also grants pardons, ratifiers or abrogates treaties, and receives foreign envoys or requests their recall. No one serves in top government posts without the president's recommendation. Even the judiciary and the procurators are accountable to Kim Il Sung.
The constitution states that two vice presidents "assist" the president, but it does not elaborate a mode of succession. As of July 1992, Pak Sng-ch'l (elected in 1977) and Yi Chong-k (elected in 1984) were vice presidents of North Korea.
Data as of June 1993