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|Eternal Leaders of Juche Korea
주체조선의 영원한 수령
|Residence||Kumsusan Palace of the Sun (Resting place)|
|Seat||Pyongyang, North Korea|
|Constituting instrument||Constitution of North Korea|
|Formation||28 December 1972 (President of North Korea)|
5 September 1998 (Eternal President of the Republic)
11 April 2012 (Eternal General Secretary of the Workers' Party)
13 April 2012 (Eternal Chairman of the National Defence Commission)
|This article is part of a series on the|
politics and government of
|Eternal leaders of North Korea|
주체조선의 영원한 수령
主體朝鮮의 永遠한 首領
Juchejoseonui Yeongwonhan Suryeong
Chuch'ech'osŏnŭi Yŏngwŏnhan Suryŏng
Eternal leaders of North Korea (주체조선의 영원한 수령) refers to the practice of granting posthumous titles to deceased leaders of North Korea. The phrase "Eternal Leaders of Juche Korea" was established by a line in the preamble to the Constitution, as amended on 30 June 2016, and in subsequent revisions.
It reads (in the original version):
Under the leadership of the Workers’ Party of Korea, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and the Korean people will uphold the great Comrades Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il as the eternal leaders of Juche Korea...
The President of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea was established in the Constitution of North Korea in 1972. Until then, Kim Il-sung, the de facto ruler of North Korea, held the posts of Premier and General Secretary of the Workers' Party of Korea.
In 1972 the Presidency was established, and Kim Il-sung was elected to the position by the Supreme People's Assembly, the North Korean legislature, on 28 December 1972. Kim held the Office of President until 1994 when he died, and the position was left vacant when he died and his son and successor Kim Jong-il was not given the title.
The revised constitution in 1998 abolished the presidency and declared Kim Il-sung "eternal President."
The preamble of the Constitution of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea as amended on 5 September 1998 reads:
Under the leadership of the Workers' Party of Korea, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea and the Korean people will hold the great leader Comrade Kim Il-sung in high esteem as the eternal President of the Republic...
The President was the de jure head of state of North Korea, but whose powers were de facto held by the Supreme Leader. According to Ashley J. Tellis and Michael Wills, this amendment to the preamble was an indication of the unique North Korean characteristic of being a theocratic state based on the cult of personality revering Kim Il-sung. In addition, North Korea adopted a Juche calendar dating from 1912, the year of Kim Il-sung's birth.
The 2012 Constitution once again referred to Kim Il-sung as the "eternal President of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea".
After the death of Kim Jong-il, the constitution was amended in 2012, declaring him Eternal General Secretary of the Workers' Party of Korea and Eternal Chairman of the National Defence Commission. The title of party leader was changed to "First Secretary".
The functions and powers previously belonging to the President were divided between three officials: the head of government, the Premier of North Korea; the speaker of the legislature, the Chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme People's Assembly; and the head of the military, the Chairman of the National Defence Commission (replaced by State Affairs Commission of North Korea in 2016) and Supreme Commander of the Korean People's Army, all of which are currently held by Kim Il-sung's grandson, Kim Jong-un.
The President of the Presidium of the Supreme People's Assembly performs representative functions ordinarily accorded to a head of state.