x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 18 January 2018

N Korean leader 'elected unaminously'

Kim Jong-il is re-elected to his rubber-stamp parliament, as the elections are scrutinised for clues about a transition of power.

Leader Kim Jong-il has been unanimously elected to a seat in North Korea's parliament following a 100 per cent turnout, state media said today. Yesterday's elections for the rubber-stamp Supreme People's Assembly featured only one pre-approved candidate in each constituency. But analysts are watching them for clues about an eventual transition of power in the impoverished communist nation. Mr Jong-il, 67, was standing in military constituency 333, a lucky number in Korean. The new assembly will vote later to confirm him as chairman of the National Defence Commission, the country's most powerful body.

The central election committee said "all the voters of Constituency No 333 participated in the election and voted for Supreme Commander of the Korean People's Army Kim Jong-il," the official Korean Central News Agency reported. "This is the expression of all servicepersons' and people's absolute support and profound trust in Kim Jong-il," it added. Voting for the parliament did not take place in 2008 when its five-year term expired, amid speculation over Mr Jong-il's health. He is widely believed to have suffered a stroke last August.

Seoul officials say he has recovered well and is in control, but his health and age have inevitably led to talk abroad about who will succeed him. The report was the first on official media about the outcome of the elections. * AFP