North Korea's rubber-stamp parliament on Thursday re-elected the country's leader, Kim Jong Il, to the government's highest post. The Supreme People's Assembly re-confirmed Kim as the chairman of the National Defence Commission, state media reported. The commission is the most powerful body in North Korea's government.
Kim's election was a formality in the single-party, totalitarian state, but observers said the assembly session shored up Kim's position and power within the regime after the 67-year-old, according to South Korean intelligence officials, suffered a stroke over the summer.
His re-election came after North Korea defied international warnings and launched a rocket Sunday. It said the launch was of a communications satellite and was successful, but the US, South Korea and Japan said it was made to test an intercontinental ballistic missile and failed.
The Supreme People's Assembly was elected in March. All candidates were selected by the ruling Korean Workers Party, and only one candidate for each seat appeared on ballots.
The assembly meets several days at a time once or twice a year and passes all legislation proposed by the government with little debate.