Page last updated at 15:47 GMT, Monday, 9 March 2009

N Korea's Kim 'elected' to seat

Kim Jong-il casts vote, at Kim Il-sung University, Pyongyang, N Korea, pic undated but released 8 Mar 09
Kim Jong-il's father, Kim Il-sung, gave him power regardless of elections

North Korean leader Kim Jong-il has been unanimously elected to a seat in the communist country's parliament.

But none of his three sons was among the 686 legislators announced in state media.

There had been speculation that third son Kim Jong-un was on the ballot - something that would have pointed to the reclusive state's succession plans.

State media claimed a 99.98% turnout in Sunday's elections for the rubber-stamp Supreme People's Assembly.

Voting, which was compulsory, was for just one pre-approved candidate in each constituency.

Succession fears

Mr Kim, 67, stood in military constituency 333, a lucky number in Korean.

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.


North Koreans cast their ballots

"This is the expression of all servicepersons' and people's absolute support and profound trust in Kim Jong-il," it added.

The new assembly is expected to confirm him as chairman of the National Defence Commission, the country's most powerful body, in April.

North Korea watchers had been scrutinising this election for the possible emergence of Kim Jong-un.

He is the 26-year-old, Swiss-educated son of Kim Jong-il and was recently rumoured to be his father's most likely successor.

But when the names of the newly-elected lawmakers were announced on state media, Kim Jong-un's was not included.

Kim Jong-il inherited the leadership from his own father, Kim Il-sung. He has two other sons, Kim Jong-nam and Kim Jong-chol.

Speculation over who will follow him has increased in recent months following reports that he suffered a stroke last year.

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