Despite what many might think there are actually multiple parties in the North Korean Supreme Peoples Assembly (parliament). Of course the most well known are the Workers Party of Korea, but in third place comes the Chondoist Chong Party.
So North Korea is a multi-party democracy? Not quite, at least not in the western use of the word democracy.
How does the North Korean political system work?
There are elections in North Korea although these ate for 687 single ballot districts, as in only one candidate stands. So, why are there more than one party you ask?
All 687 members of parliament in North Korea must be members of the Democratic Front for the Reunification of the Fatherland. This umbrella popular front gets a set amount of seats in parliament, alongside other groups.
For example the Workers Party of Korea gets 600, while the Korean Social Democratic Party gets 50 – we will explain later how many the Chondoist Chong Party get.
What is Chondoiam?
Chondism is a religion in North Korea that many feel is indigenous to the north of the country. Before the formation of the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea (DPRK) it was a formidable force.
The religion still exist in both north and south of the DMZ, with there officially at least still being contacts.
Chondoism is considered by many to be a kind of mixture between Confucianism and Christianity.
Post War Chonodism
Originally a strong force, they were slowly copied into being part of the ruling coalition, although not all members agreed with this.
Fowling the Korean War they have held seat in parliament, as well as even cabinet positions, but have also been subjected to purges on a number of occasions too.
The Chondoist Chong Party in the Supreme People’s Assembly
It had a high of 35 seat in 1948, which dropped to 4 in 1962. As of 1990 it has had 2022 seats, this was repeated in the 2019 North Korean elections
This makes the party the third most represented and indeed important with the DPRK politics arena.
The Chondoist Chong Party in 2024
For many years the chairwoman of the party was Ryu Mi-yong who died in 2016. For a long time she was seen as a political heavyweight in the DPRK and certainly one of the strongest women in the country.
Its current chair is Ri Myong-chol.