North Korea announces elections to its parliament in March
North Korea announces elections to its parliament in March

North Korea announced Wednesday elections to its parliament in March, the first under leader Kim Jong-Un .

The North's official KCNA news agency said that the presidium of the Supreme People's Assembly (SPA) decided the election - held every five years - would take place on March 9.

The last parliamentary vote was held in 2009 under the leadership of Kim's father, Kim Jong-Il.

Kim succeeded his father in December 2011, and the March election will be closely watched for any further revelations on the changing power structure in Pyongyang.

The announcement of the vote coincided with the young leader's birthday on Wednesday. His precise age is a matter of some speculation due to confusion about the year of his birth, with various reports that it was 1982, 1983 or 1984.

Kim might well be among the parliamentary candidates if he chooses to follow his father's example of standing in the election.

The parliament usually sits twice a year for a day or two to pass government budgets and approve personnel changes.

The last session in April 2013 adopted a special ordinance formalising the country's position as a nuclear weapons state -- a status that both South Korea and the United States have vowed not to recognize.

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