N. Korea reelects Kim to Parliament
SEOUL - Kim Jong Il was unanimously reelected to North Korea's rubber-stamp Parliament, state media said yesterday, in elections closely watched for signs of a political shift or hints the autocratic leader is grooming a successor.
All eligible voters in Constituency No. 333 cast ballots for Kim, renewing their "unshakable determination to devotedly safeguard" the leader, the official Korean Central News Agency said in first results from yesterday's poll.
A list of legislators to the 12th Supreme Peoples Assembly is expected today. Observers are watching the results closely for clues to how Kim and the ruling elite will govern the communist nation over the next five years, and any signs he is grooming a successor.
Kim, 67, reportedly suffered a stroke in August, around the time the elections were due to be held.
Kim's third son, Kim Jong Un, reportedly ran for a seat yesterday in what analysts say would be a strong sign he is poised to inherit power. The 26-year-old is the youngest of the leader's three known sons and is said to be his father's favorite.
The poll was held as North Korea claimed it was powering ahead with plans to send a communications satellite into orbit - a launch regional powers fear is a cover for a long-range Taepodong-2 missile capable of striking Alaska.