President Kim Jong Un has said he is very happy to be elected in the next presidential elections.
The 73-year-old was re-election favourite despite an economic slowdown that has pushed the economy to the brink of collapse.
His ruling Workers’ Party (WPK) is facing a strong challenge from a party led by Kim Jong Nam, who is expected to win the nomination for the first time.
Mr Kim, who was born in North Korea, has long been seen as the successor to his father Kim Jong Il and is the most powerful leader in the world.
The president’s victory was greeted with euphoria by some who said it would be a big step forward for the country.
But some of those who watched the results said they were worried about the economic fallout.
The BBC’s Kim Ki-jong in Seoul says Mr Kim’s success could be a setback for the WPK, which has been fighting to build up a new economy and consolidate its hold on power.
Mr Kim has been a key figure in consolidating power in North Korean politics for decades.
His father, Kim Jong il, died in December 2019.
North Korea is still considered one of the most repressive and isolated countries in the region, with the country’s top leaders living in isolated compounds and some people jailed for life.
But analysts say his success could signal a more liberal approach to governing, a key challenge for the ruling Workers Party.
North Korean state television has been broadcasting a series of political programmes in the run-up to the elections, including one from Mr Kim himself.
The leader of the WPKS, Kim Kye-hwan, said on state television on Wednesday he had won the presidential election.
He said the party’s candidates had “all worked hard” to “build up their political authority”.
Mr Kim also promised to “serve the people with a clear vision of a new and improved future”.
“I will continue to build a country for the benefit of the people and the country, and I will work hard to implement my programme of socialism with the help of the masses,” he said.
“I can only call upon the people’s support and support to achieve my goal of building a strong and prosperous economy.”
Analysis: Kim Ki Nam’s candidacy is expected The election will be the first in North and South Korea since the North’s Workers’ party re-formed in 2011 under a new constitution and has seen the rise of several candidates since then.
South Korea’s Yonhap news agency quoted the party as saying that it was expecting the presidential vote to be held on Wednesday.
North Korean television aired a series on Wednesday of state television programmes in support of Mr Kim.
The North Korean state TV programme, titled “The Party’s Candidate” showed images of Mr North and Mr Kim meeting in Pyongyang in 2014.
The country’s foreign ministry said the results were a good step forward.
“The results of the presidential elections will help to strengthen the WPKK’s position in the country,” it said.
“We are hoping that the WPKY will be able to carry out the party congress that is scheduled to take place in the coming months, and that it will be ready to make the right decisions and act in accordance with the party constitution.”
North Korea has said the new constitution, which went into effect in April, was intended to “bring North Korea closer to the international community”.
In a statement on state media, the WPKI said it was “hopeful that it would work smoothly” and “will not be affected by the political situation”.
“The WPKY’s programme of socialist construction will be fully implemented and will be guided by the will of the party members and people,” the statement said.
North Koreans have not been allowed to vote in presidential election since 1994.
The election was expected to be very close, with candidates from each party likely to face off in a series and a runoff in May.
However, with North Korea facing international sanctions, it is likely to be a much closer contest.
The WPK is expected by some analysts to win, with Mr Kim the favourite.
The party is known for its hardline stance and Mr Jong-nam, a former prisoner, a staunch critic of Mr Jang, the North Korean leader.
The two men have been locked in a bitter feud that has split the two Koreas.
Mr Jang was sentenced to life imprisonment in November 2018 for allegedly trying to overthrow the North in Pyongyang, and has denied the charges.
Mr North was convicted of treason in July and is serving a 12-year sentence in a South Korean jail.
Mr Jong Nam was not in jail when he was arrested and sent to North Korea.