With the North Korean leader Kim Jong Un ‘s health status in grave danger after surgery, questions are swirling over who would replace the reclusive dictator since he has no named successor or heir apparent.
The Kim family has ruled the secretive Communist country for the past seven decades ,with Kim taking over from his father, Kim Jong Il, after his death in 2011.
Power has traditionally passed through male heirs, but the 36-year-old despot has no male adult children leaving Kim’s brother and sister as the most obvious choices to replace him as ruler, according to various reports.
His sister Kim Yo Jong is a senior member of the ruling Workers’ Party of Korea and is considered the most powerful woman in North Korea, according to a 2019 National Interest investigation.
She has served as chief of staff and confidant of sorts to her older brother and has been protective of his image in her role as a director of the country’s propaganda department, according to the report.
But North Korean politics is patriarchal and it’s unlikely a woman will be made leader, however powerful she is. Kim’s wife, a former cheerleader and singer, also exercises no political power, the report said.