North Korea plans first party congress since 1980


North Korea is to hold its first congress of the ruling Korean Workers Party for 36 years in the largely isolated country.

The announcement comes just a few weeks after the celebration of the 70th anniversary of the founding of the party on October 10.

The Politburo has decided to hold the 7th party congress at the start of May 2016, state media reported on Friday.

It would allow “epoch-making changes in accomplishing the revolutionary cause of Juche, the cause of building a thriving socialist nation.”

Juche is the state ideology and stresses the country’s independence.

No further details were given.

Observers in South Korea speculated that the North’s ruler Kim Jong Un could use the congress to strengthen the party, choose a new group of leaders and set out new political guidelines.

It will be the first party congress since 1980, South Korean media repoted.

At the last congress the ascent of Kim’s father Kim Jong Il to the key leadership positions was made official. Kim Jong Il died at the end of 2011.

Kim Jong Un was then made the country’s top leader of the party, the military and the people.