Charter of the Workers' Party of Korea
The Charter of the Workers' Party of Korea (Korean: 조선로동당규약) is the by-laws of the Workers' Party of Korea (WPK). It sets the rules of the organization and membership of the party. According to the Charter, the WPK Congress is the highest body of the party and it, along with the WPK Conference, can amend the Charter. The Charter defines the character, task, and methodology of the party. According to it, the Party strives to impose communism on the whole of the Korean Peninsula. Recent revisions of the Charter have defined Kimilsungism–Kimjongilism as the ideology of the party.
|Charter of the Workers' Party of Korea|
Title page of the current Charter of the Workers' Party of Korea
|Revised Romanization||Joseon rodongdang gyuyak|
|McCune–Reischauer||Chosŏn rodongdang kyuyak|
The first Charter was adopted on 30 August 1946 at the 1st Congress of the Workers' Party of North Korea, the immediate predecessor of the modern WPK. Since then, every Conference and some Congresses have revised the rules, most recently the 7th Congress in 2016.
Since the death of Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-il's accession to the leadership of the country, the Charter has not been adhered to by the party. After the 6th Congress in 1980, Congresses were no longer held every five years as stipulated by the Charter. Neither were plenums of the Central Committee held at regular six month intervals. Kim Jong-il was also elected General Secretary of the party without observing the correct procedure. In preparation of Kim Jong-un's succession, the 3rd Conference in 2010 revised the Charter to ensure that he would secure leadership in both the party and the army at the same time. Changes were also made to allow the Kim dynasty to pick a dates for Congresses freely. Such a Congress, 7th party Congress, amended the Charter by giving Kim Jong-un the title Chairman of the Workers' Party of Korea in May 2016.
The Charter, commonly known as the "Rules and Constitution", contains the party's by-laws. The Charter outlines the character, task and methodology of the Worker's Party. It sets communism across the whole Korean Peninsula as the goal of the party. According to the Charter, the party "represents the interests of the Korean nation and people", and its immediate task is "to attain a perfect victory of socialism in the northern part and to complete the revolutionary tasks of achieving national liberation and the people's democracy through the country." This task is to be achieved by "perform[ing] the revolution and construction tasks under the sole leader's exclusive guidance, applying his revolutionary ideology as [the] guideline". The Charter stipulates that the party guides all state and social organs in North Korea.
The Charter sets the rules on the organization of the party and its membership. It stipulates that the Congress is the highest body of the party. The Charter says that when the Congress is not in session, the party is run by the Central Committee. According to the Charter, the Central Committee elects the Chairman of the party, members of the Politburo, its Presidium, the Executive Policy Bureau, members of the Control Commission, and members of the Central Military Commission (CMC).
The Charter can be amended by a Congress or a Conference of the party. The Control Commission theoretically probes suspected violations of the Charter by party members. However, the Charter is, in fact, an essentially meaningless document for much of its existence, since there is no oversight of central-level compliance.
Although the Charter is the party's highest document de jure, Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-il breached party protocol during their rule by not convening party Congresses or Central Committee plenums. The Central Committee is not a permanent body; it must convene, according to the party's Charter, at least once every six months. The Central Committee is, according to the party's Charter, elected by delegates to a party congress; in practice, however, this has not been the case.
According to Article 27 of the Charter, the Central Military Commission (CMC) is the highest party body in military affairs; it commands the Korean People's Army, developing and guiding its weaponry. In practice, however, the CMC is a ceremonial body subordinate to the National Defence Commission. A 1982 amendment to the Charter is believed to have made the CMC equal to the Central Committee, enabling it (among other things) to elect the party leader.
Although the party Charter specifies that the Politburo should meet at least once a month, there is little evidence that this has actually happened.
The first Charter was adopted on 30 August 1946 in the 1st Congress of the Workers' Party of North Korea, the immediate predecessor of the present WPK. The 2nd Congress revised it on 30 March 1948, and the 3rd Congress of the Workers' Party of Korea made extensive revisions to it in April 1956. The 4th Congress amended it on 18 September 1961, and the 5th Congress on 13 November 1970. The 6th Congress revised it on 10 October 1980.
The 1990s (especially after Kim Il-sung's death) began a period in which any pretense of following the Charter was dropped. No Central Committee plenums were convened between 1993 and 2010, even though the Charter mandated one to be held at least every six months. As consequence, the composition of the CC at that time remained only an estimate. It was not known which members of the 6th CC were active or even alive.
In a clear breach of the Charter, Kim Jong-il was appointed WPK General Secretary in a joint announcement by the 6th Central Committee and the CMC rather than elected by a plenum of the Central Committee.
3rd party ConferenceEdit
On 26 June 2010 the Politburo announced that it was summoning delegates for the 3rd party Conference, with its official explanation the need to "reflect the demands of the revolutionary development of the Party, which is facing critical changes in bringing about the strong and prosperous state and chuche [Juche] development." The Conference met on 28 September, revising the party Charter and electing (and dismissing) members of the Central Committee, the Secretariat, the Politburo, the Presidium and other bodies. The WPK's ultimate goal was changed from "build[ing] a communist society" (although Marxism–Leninism was still mentioned) to "embody[ing] the revolutionary cause of Juche in the entire society".
The Charter was revised at the 3rd Conference (its first revision since the 6th Congress in 1980) to require the party's First Secretary to also hold the office of Chairman of the party's Central Military Commission. This was to ensure Kim Jong-un's succession of his father, Kim Jong-il, by guaranteeing that he inherits the top posts in not just the party but the army as well.
Although a congress was formerly mandated to be convened every five years, the 3rd Conference revised the party Charter to state that the Central Committee could convene a congress as desired with six months' notice to the party. This, too, was done in preparation for Kim Jong-un's succession, allowing the Kim dynasty to pick the date freely.
Two new chapters were added: "The Party and the People's Power" and "The Party Logo and Flag of Party".
4th party ConferenceEdit
7th party CongressEdit
At the 7th party Congress on 9 May 2016, the charter was amended "as required by the developing reality." The dual-track policy of pursuing both economic growth and nuclear weapons capacity was added to the Charter. Secretary titles were made Chairmen and Vice-Chairmen in both the central and municipal levels. The Secretariat was named the Executive Policy Bureau of the Workers' Party of Korea. The First Secretary of the party became Chairman of the Workers' Party.
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