Major organizational changes to be announced at Party Congress

Choi Song Min  |  2016-01-11 11:14
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Kim Jong Un is set to be designated General Secretary of the Workers Party of Korea and President during the 7th Party Congress scheduled for May. This platform could also be used to open a new era of Party-centered state management, as was the case during Kim Il Sungs rule, and end his father Kim Jong Ils military first songun policy, Daily NK has learned. 

There has been talk among high-level cadres that state organization and management will see a lot of change through the Party Congress, a source close to North Korean affairs reported on Sunday, according to South Korean lawmaker Ha Tae Kyung. Accordingly, the Marshal will be elevated to Party General Secretary and President. 

This was confirmed by South Korea's National Intelligence Service as well as two Daily NK sources residing in Pyongyang. 

These reforms will not be to imitate past practices (of Kim Il Sung or Kim Jong Il) but rather bring about changes within the Party and administrative bodies that are unique to Kim Jong Un. This will come with massive propaganda campaigns that declare his monolithic leadership, the source said. 

Following the death of the Norths founder Kim Il Sung, former leader Kim Jong Il in September 1998, during the 10th Supreme Peoples Assembly, revised the constitution and abolished the presidency, establishing Kim Il Sung as the Eternal President and instead creating the National Defense Commission (NDC) of which he appointed himself as chairman. 

In similar fashion to his father, Kim Jong Un in April 2012, the year after Kim Jong Il died, designated his father as the Eternal Chairman of the National Defense Commission at the 12th Supreme Peoples Assembly, and appointed himself as First Chairman on the NDC. He also left the General Secretary of the Workers Party vacant and instead assumed his post as First Secretary. 

Kim Jong Un seems to have decided that if he establishes Kim Il Sung as the Eternal General Secretary and appoints himself as General Secretary it will not be a problem, the source reported. Its likely that he will get rid of the National Defense Commission and instead strengthen the Partys Central Commission and Central Military Commission. 

With this, Kim Jong Un is likely putting forward his determination to center the leadership on the Central Party like his grandfather did instead of prioritizing the military. The changes also suggest that the young leader seeks to promote the country as a normal state to China and the rest of the international community.

In addition, Kim Jong Uns birthday (January 8) will officially be designated as a great national holiday starting 2017.

Considering the year 2017 falls on a five-year anniversary cycle of both Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Ils birthday (105th and 75th, respectively), theres the possibility that Kim Jong Uns birthday will be announced as 1982 in order to make 2017 his 35th and put it all in sync, the source asserted. The designation of this holiday could also be promoted as an opportunity of new hope and expectation for the public. 

In terms of the possibility of declaring new economic reforms, the source explained he would announce reform measures that stay within the overall framework of socialism. Taking an extra step forward from the new economic management systems June 28 Measures, which pertained to agricultural policies, the pending package of reforms will include provisions authorizing individuals to directly manage factories. In practice, this would enable the state to collect more taxes from the donju [newly affluent middle class] by providing them with more freedom to make money. 

Aspects of these changes are already underway in select locales. In some regions, municipal Peoples Committee business offices have been granting donju increased license to earn money, he said. "Provided that people can offer up the initial 6,000 RMB fee and build their own factories with basic infrastructure such as sanitation facilities they are relatively uninhibited in their business operations."

*Translated by Jiyeon Lee

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