Updated March. 12, 2014 02:12
In the election for the representatives of North Korean Supreme Peoples Assembly, the first one since Kim Jong Un took power, a number of new figures have emerged as new heavyweights of the isolated regime. In contrast, people who were close to Jang Song Thaek have disappeared from the list of the elected.
According to the announcement by the North Korean Central Election Committee, which was made public by the North Korean media on Tuesday, among the 687 representatives elected for the 13th Supreme Peoples Assembly, 365 including Kim Jong Un, the First Secretary of the Workers Party, are newly-elected members.
Among the members of the Political Bureau of the Workers Party, the so-called power elites of North Korea, Ri Myong Su, the former minister of Peoples Security who is known to be a close aide to Jang, has failed to put his name on the list of the elected. In addition, alternate members of the bureau such as Mun Kyong Dok, the secretary of the Workers Party and chief secretary of the Pyongyang City Committee, Hyon Yong Chol, the former chief of the General Staff (dismissed last year) have not been listed. Ri Pyong Sam, the political director of the Peoples Internal Security Forces, made a public appearance last December at the second anniversary of the death of former leader Kim Jong Il right after the execution of Jang, but he was not included in the list of new representatives.
Jeong Seong-jang, a senior researcher of the Sejong Institute in Seoul, said, People who were close to Jang might have been dismissed or purged. However, some of the people close to Jang have survived. The case in point is Kim Yang Gon, the secretary of the Workers Party and the director of the United Front Department.
On the other hand, people who have often been witnessed with the North Korean leader in public and considered new heavyweights, such as Jang Jong Nam, the minister of the Peoples Armed Forces, Kim Su Gil, the deputy director of the Political Bureau, Jo Yon Jun and Choe Hui, the first deputy directors of the Organization and Guidance Department at the Workers Party, Choe Bu Il, the minister of Peoples Security, Hwang Byong So, Ma Won Chun and Pak Thae Song, deputy directors of the Workers Party, have been elected for the parliament, which is noteworthy. Those who are newly elected included Won Dong Yon, the first deputy director of the United Front Department who served as the North Korean representative at the recent inter-Korean high-level meeting, and Kang Ji Yong, the head of the Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the Fatherland who served as the North Korean representative at the inter-Korean ministerial meeting that was cancelled last year.
Vice Marshal Choe Ryong Hae who was rumored to have been in detention, has also been re-elected, demonstrating that he is still powerful. Kim Kyong Hui, the aunt of Kim Jong Un, has been elected as a representative in constituency No. 285. However, officials from the South Korean government said, Kim Kyong Hui was elected in constituency No. 3 for the 11th and 12th parliament. It has not been confirmed whether the one elected in the constituency is Kim or a person with the same name. Kim Yo Jong, who drew much attention outside North Korea by being officially mentioned for the first time by the North Korean media for during the election was not included in the list of the elected.
Regarding North Koreas claim that voter turnout was a whopping 99.97 percent and the approval rating was 100 percent, U.S. State Department Spokesperson Jen Psaki criticized by saying, I will simply say that is not a model for democracy around the world. North Korea experts explained that North Korea announces the turnout is 99.97 percent or 99.98 percent because it intends to propagate that the regime is 100 percent approved by the people while admitting 100-percent turnout is unrealistic.