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ur world is home to a range of leadership systems. Throughout our history, nearly every type of system has been tried, going from fascism in the early 20th century to communism which is still practiced in some states today. Although a wide range of leadership systems are still in use today, our world has been getting less and less extreme as time passes. Except for a few exceptions, our world is now dominated mainly by democracies. As always, there are a few outliers like the subject of today’s article. A country that is ruled by a dead man.

The Korean War

On 25 June 1950, the Korean War started. Only five years after the Second World War, the conflict pitted old allies against each other, with China and the USSR (Soviet Union) supporting the North and the United Nations (UN), mainly the United States (US), supporting the south. Leading the North Korean faction was Kim Il-sung.

Seul during the early stages of the Korean War. Source: Wikimedia Commons

After the war concluded in a stalemate that continues to this day, Kim Il-sung became the de facto leader of North Korea. Throughout his rule, he built up a personality cult around himself and his family, similar to what Stalin did during his rule. By the time of his death on 8 July 1994, the people of Korea essentially worshipped him.

After his death, the people of Korea went into country-wide mourning, with people being flown down from across the country to see the body of their leader. His body remains on display, similar to the way Lenin’s body is displayed in a mausoleum.

His successor, Kim Jong-Il, did not receive the title of president, which was previously held by Kim Il-sung. The post was left vacant until 1998, when a new constitution changed the structure of the country’s leadership.

The 1998 constitution

The 1998 constitution changed the way North Korea is run. To enshrine the old leader, the constitution was amended to abolish the position of president, making Kim Il-sung the eternal president of North Korea. The power that the position held was transferred to the head of the Presidium of the Supreme People’s Assembly, making it the new de facto leadership position.

This meant that although dead for four years, Kim Il-sung became the eternal leader of North Korea. Although a ceremonial position, the country is still technically run by the old dictator making it the only necrocracy in the world, meaning it is the only country run by a dead person.

This title is likely going to last as long as the country is under the control of the “Kim” dynasty. With the prospect of uniting with South Korea getting worse and worse each year, it is likely that North Korea is going to hold the title of “The World’s Only Necrocracy” for the foreseeable future unless its leadership is deposed or another country chooses to enshrine their dead leader in such a way.

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