Eternal President of the Republic

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Eternal President of the Republic
Kim Il Sung Portrait-2.jpg
Kim Il-sung

since September 5, 1998
Residence Kumsusan Palace of the Sun
Constituting instrument Constitution of North Korea
Formation 28 December 1972 (formation of President of North Korea) 5 September 1998 (constitutional amendment)
Emblem of North Korea.svg
This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of
North Korea
Foreign relations
Eternal President of the Republic
Chosŏn'gŭl 공화국의 영원한 주석
Hancha 共和國의 永遠한 主席
Revised Romanization
Gonghwagugui Yeongwonhan Juseok
Konghwagugŭi Yŏngwŏnhan Chusŏk

The appellation Eternal President of the Republic (공화국의 영원한 주석, literally "Eternal Chairman of the Republic") was established by a line in the preface to the Constitution of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, as amended on September 5, 1998. It 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...[1]

According to Ashley J. Tellis and Michael Wills, this amendment to the preamble is an indication of the unique North Korean characteristic of being a theocratic state based on a 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.[2]

Original position (President of North Korea) 1972–1994

The President of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (North Korea) was established in the Constitution of North Korea, 1972. Until then, Kim Il-sung, the ruler of North Korea, used the posts Premier and General Secretary of the Workers' Party of Korea. In 1972 the Presidency was established and Kim Il-sung was elected to the post by the Supreme People's Assembly, the North Korean parliament, on 28 December 1972. Kim held the post until 1994 when he died, to this day without a formal succession. In 1998, the revised constitution abolished the presidency and established the honorific title of Eternal President of the Republic, which was given to Kim Il-sung.

Head of state role

As of 2016 there is no President of North Korea, as the office was left vacant from the death of Kim Il-sung in 1994, and was ipso facto abolished with the 1998 constitutional changes. Instead, 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 and Supreme Commander of the Korean People's Army, currently held by Kim Il-sung's grandson, Kim Jong-un. The latter Kim is also the First Secretary of the Workers' Party of Korea, and is reckoned as "Supreme Leader" with absolute control over the country.

See also


  1. Constitution of North Korea (1972) Wikisource
  2. Ashley J. Tellis; Michael Wills (30 September 2007). Domestic Political Change and Grand Strategy. NBR. p. 128. ISBN 978-0-9713938-8-2. Retrieved 9 July 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

Further reading

  • Kim Jong-il (1994). Let Us Hold the Great Leader Comrade Kim Il Sung in High Esteem as the Eternal President of Our Republic.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>