Crisis of Succession
Mapping the Paths Into and Out of the Personalist Dictatorship in North Korea
At the third Delegates’ Conference of the North Korean Workers’ Party (KWP), held on September 28, 2010, the third-generation hereditary succession of Kim Jong-Un, Kim Jong-Il’s third son, was officially declared. This news reignited the perennial debate between the collapsists and the resilientists regarding whether the Kimist autocracy will survive the presumably conflict-ridden process of leadership transition. Based upon the existing theories of authoritarian regimes, the author advances the "second-time-unlucky” hypothesis on hereditary succession. He employs it to explain the North Korean transition to the current regime. Analyzing Pyongyang’s guardianship government and politics of succession, the author illustrates potential transition paths and discusses policy implications.
© 2011 East Asia Institute (EAI)