Chairman of the Workers' Party of Korea
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|Chairman of the Workers' Party of Korea|
Flag of the Workers' Party of Korea
|Style||Comrade (among many titles)|
|Member of||Central Committee
Politburo Standing Committee
Central Military Commission
Executive Policy Bureau
State Affairs Commission
|Precursor||General Secretary (1966–2011)
First Secretary (2012–2016)
|Inaugural holder||Kim Tu-bong
28 August 1946
|Formation||9 May 2016|
|Unofficial names||Supreme leader|
|Chairman of the Workers' Party of Korea|
|Revised Romanization||Joseon Rodongdang Wiwonjang|
|McCune–Reischauer||Chosŏn Rodongdang Wiwonjang|
|This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of
Democratic People's Republic of Korea
The Chairman of the Workers' Party of Korea is the leader of the Workers' Party of Korea and supreme commander of the armed forces of North Korea and the most powerful person in the government as the Supreme Leader of one-party North Korea.
The party has been led by four offices during its existence: Chairman of the Central Committee (1946–1966), General Secretary of the Central Committee (1966–1994, vacant until 1997), General Secretary of the Workers' Party of Korea (1997–2012) and First Secretary of the Workers' Party of Korea (since 2012). The office of Chairman of the Central Committee was established at the 1st Congress (held in August 1946), and elected Kim Tu-bong (who was not a member of the Kim family) to the office. It was replaced at the October 1966 2nd Conference by the General Secretary of the Central Committee; through this office, Kim Il-sung became the formal head of the party's Secretariat. After Kim Il-sung's death in 1994, the post was vacant for three years. On 8 October 1997, Kim Jong-il was appointed to the new office of General Secretary of the Workers' Party of Korea in a joint announcement by the Central Committee (CC) and the Central Military Commission (CMC) of the Workers' Party of Korea: "[The CC and the CMC] pronounce comrade Kim Jong-il as general secretary of the party, based upon the wishes of the entire People's Army, people, and the members of the party." At the 3rd Conference, the party charter was amended to require the general secretary to concurrently chair the Central Military Commission. When Kim Jong-il died the WPK left the post of General Secretary vacant at the 4th Conference, making him "Eternal General Secretary". Kim Jong-un was elected to the office of First Secretary (later that of Chairman as of 2016) of the Workers' Party of Korea, which was established to "represent and lead the whole party as its head and ... materialize the ideas and lines of Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-il."
|Portrait||Took office||Left office|
|Chairman of the Central Committee
|28 August 1946||30 June 1949|
|30 June 1949||11 October 1966|
|General Secretary of the Central Committee
|11 October 1966||8 July 1994|
|General Secretary of the Workers' Party of Korea
|8 October 1997||17 December 2011|
|Eternal General Secretary of the Workers' Party of Korea
|11 April 2012||Incumbent|
|First Secretary of the Workers' Party of Korea
|11 April 2012||9 May 2016|
|Chairman of the Workers' Party of Korea
|9 May 2016||Incumbent|
Articles, books and journal entries
- Haggard, Stephen; Herman, Luke; Ryu, Jaesung (July–August 2014). "Political Change in North Korea: Mapping the Succession". Asian Survey. University of California Press. 54 (4): 773–780. doi:10.1525/as.2014.54.4.773. JSTOR 10.1525/as.2014.54.4.773.
- Kim, Nam-Sik (Spring–Summer 1982). "North Korea's Power Structure and Foreign Relations: an Analysis of the Sixth Congress of the KWP". The Journal of East Asian Affairs. Institute for National Security Strategy. 2 (1): 125–151. JSTOR 23253510.
- Staff writer (2012 & 2014). Understanding North Korea. Ministry of Unification. Check date values in:
- Buzo, Adrian (1999). The Guerilla Dynasty: Politics and Leadership in North Korea. I.B. Tauris. ISBN 1860644147.
- Gause, Ken E. (2011). North Korea Under Kim Chong-il: Power, Politics, and Prospects for Change. ABC-CLIO. ISBN 0313381755.
- Kim, Samuel (2000). "North Korean Informal Politics". Informal Politics in East Asia. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0521645387.
- Lankov, Andrei (2007). Crisis in North Korea: The Failure of De-Stalinization, 1956. University of Hawaii Press. ISBN 0824832078.
- Park, Kyung-ae; Snyder, Scott (2013). North Korea in Transition: Politics, Economy, and Society. Rowman & Littlefield. ISBN 1442218126.
- Suh, Dae-sook (1988). Kim Il Sung: The North Korean Leader (1st ed.). Columbia University Press. ISBN 0231065736.