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North Korea Table of Contents

North Korea

Local Government

There are three levels of local government: province (do) (see Glossary) and special province-level municipalities (chikalsi, or jikhalsi) (see Glossary); ordinary cities (si), urban districts (kuyk), and counties (gun, or kun); and traditional villages (ri, or ni). Towns and townships (myn) no longer functioned as administrative units in North Korea after the Korean War, but still exist in South Korea. At the village level, administrative and economic matters are the responsibility of the chairman of the cooperative farm management committee in each village.

As of mid-1993, there were nine provinces: Changang, North Hamgyng, and South Hamgyng, North Hwanghae and South Hwanghae, Kangwn, North P'yngan and South P'yngan, and Yanggang; three special provincial-level cities: Kaesng, Namp'o, and P'yongyang, municipalities under central authority; seventeen ordinary cities under provincial authority; thirty-six urban districts; over 200 counties; and some 4,000 villages (see fig. 9). Among these divisions, the counties serve as the intermediate administrative link between provincial authorities and the grass-roots-level village organizations. Local organs at the county level provide other forms of guidance to such basic units as blocks and workers' districts (nodongja-ku).

Three types of local organs elect local officials to carry out centrally planned policies and programs: KWP local committees, local people's assemblies, and local administrative committees (such as local administration, economic guidance, and rural economic committees). These committees are local extensions of the three higher bodies at the national level: the Supreme People's Assembly, the Central People's Committee, and the State Administration Council.

The local people's assemblies, established at all administrative levels, perform the same symbolic functions as the SPA. They provide a fašade of popular support and involvement and serve as a vehicle through which loyal and meritorious local inhabitants are given visible recognition as deputies to the assemblies. The assemblies meet once or twice a year for only a few days at each session. Their duties are to approve the plan for local economic development and the local budget; to elect the officers of other local bodies, including the judges and people's assessors of the courts within their jurisdictions; and to review the decisions and directives issued by local organs at their corresponding and lower levels. The local people's assemblies have no standing committees. Between regular sessions, their duties are performed by the local people's committees, whose members are elected by assemblies at corresponding levels and are responsible both to the assemblies and to the local people's committees at higher levels.

The officers and members of the people's committees are influential locally as party functionaries and as senior administrative cadres. These committees can convene the people's assemblies; prepare for the election of deputies to the local assemblies; implement the decisions of the assemblies at the corresponding level and those of the people's committees at higher levels; and control and supervise the work of administrative bodies, enterprises, and social and cooperative organizations in their respective jurisdictions.

The day-to-day affairs of local communities are handled by the local administrative committees. The chairman, vice chairmen, secretary, and members of these bodies are elected by the local people's committees at the corresponding levels.

Data as of June 1993