More You Know: The Next in Line

Whatever country and government one might be speaking about, there are usually rules about what happens when a country’s leader dies or can’t do his or her duties. This leaves others to take his or her place and contingency plans are in order long before any one incident occurs. I decided to choose three countries with different forms of governments. The first is the U.S. with a semi-democracy. The second is the U.K. with a monarchy. The third is North Korea with an autocracy.

The order of succession has less to do with familial ties and more to do with title in the U.S. After the President comes the Vice President and Speaker of the House. The third in line is the President pro Tempore of the Senate (whoever is the majority in the Senate). The fourth, fifth, sixth in line is the Secretary of State, Treasury, and Defense. The seventh in line is the Attorney General. It continues through the list of the Cabinet members and only applicable to those who were born in the U.S. There have been nine Vice Presidents who took over the role as President due to death or resignation: John Tyler, Millard Fillmore, Andrew Johnson, Chester Arthur, Theodore Roosevelt, Calvin Coolidge, Harry Truman, Lyndon Johnson, and Gerald Ford. Out of these nine, four of them were re-elected: Roosevelt, Coolidge, Truman, and Johnson.

Merrick Garland (seventh in line)

Lloyd Austin

Janet Yellen

Antony Blinken

Patrick Leahy

Nancy Pelosi

Kamala Harris (first in line)

The order of succession has more do with family order than anything else in the U.K. After the King or Queen dies or abdicates the throne, the next in line is usually next sibling or child. When King Edward VIII left to marry Simpson Wallis, his brother King George VI became the next king. When he died, Queen Elizabeth II was crowned and therefore her children in order of birth became the rightful heirs: Prince Charles, Andrew, Edward, and Anne. When Prince Charles had children, Prince William and Prince Harry jumped in front of Prince Charles’ siblings. The only difference now is Prince William’s daughter Charlotte doesn’t have to be behind Prince Louis. Despite Prince Harry stepping away from royal duties, he is still in line to become king.

Princess Anne and her children

Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex and his children

Prince Andrew, Duke of York and his children

Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and his children

Prince Louis of Cambridge (fifth in line)

Prince Charlotte of Cambridge

Prince George of Cambridge

Prince William, Duke of Cambridge

Prince of Wales Charles (first in line)

The order of succession for North Korea is not as full proof. There is more jockeying for power and the ruthlessness that dominated England way back when is now a common theme in the Kim dynasty. When Kim Il-sung died, his son Kim Jong-il became the leader, and then when he died, his son Kim Jong-un became the leader. What about when Kim Jong-un dies? I’m not even going to predict because when Kim Jong Nam and Jang Song-thaek were killed by its current leader, it is anyone’s guess. Kim Yo-jong (Kim Jong-un’s sister) and Kim Pyong-il (Kim Il-sung’s son) seem to be two most viable people to replace Kim Jong-un. Basically, it’s anyone in the Kim family that will succeed the current leader.

Kim Pyong-il

Kim Yo-jong (maybe first in line)

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