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The world’s 7 longest-serving rulers

As of today, the world’s longest serving president is Teodoro Obiang.


President of Equatorial Guinea, Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, delivers a speech attended by his Argentinian counterpart, Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, in the White Hall of Casa Rosada (Government Palace) in Buenos Aires, Argentina, February 13 2008 [EPA/CEZARO DE LUCA]

Vladimir Putin is expected to win Russia’s presidential election on Sunday, giving him a fourth term that would take him to nearly a quarter-century as a head of state or government.

Other leaders who have been in power for more than a quarter of a century include Tajikistan’s Emomali Rakhmon, Cameroon’s Paul Biy and Equatorial Guinea’s Teodoro Obiang Nguema.

Here is the list of the world rulers who have held power the longest – excluding monarchs enthroned for life.

Longest record

  • Cuba: Topping the list with 49 years in power is Cuba’s revolutionary hero Fidel Castro, who handed over to his brother Raul in 2008 when he was in his early 80s.
  • Taiwan‘s first president, Chiang Kai-shek, was in charge of the island and mainland China for a total of 47 years until his death in 1975.
  • North Korean founder Kim Il-sung ran the reclusive state for 46 years before dying in office in 1994. He is still revered as the “eternal leader”.
  • Albania‘s Enver Hoxha was in power for 40 years until his death in 1985.
  • Muammar Gaddafi ruled Libya with an iron fist for almost 42 years before being killed in 2011 by rebels.
  • Gabon: Omar Bongo Ondimba governed oil-rich Gabon for more than 41 years until his death in 2009.
  • Zimbabwe: Robert Mugabe rose to power in 1980, and resigned from Zimbabwe’s top post in 2017, after a 37-year rule.

Still counting

  • Equatorial Guinea: Currently the world’s longest-serving president is Equatorial Guinea’s Teodoro Obiang Nguema, with 38 years under his belt since he toppled his uncle in 1979.
  • Cameroon‘s President Paul Biya: 35 years.
  • Congo President Denis Sassou: 34 years, excluding a five-year pause.
  • Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen: 33 years.
  • Uganda‘s President Yoweri Museveni: 32 years.
  • Iran‘s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei: 29 years.
  • Sudan‘s President Omar al-Bashir: 28 years.
  • Chad‘s President Idriss Deby: 27 years.
  • Kazakhstan‘s President Nursultan Nazarbayev: 28 years.
  • Tajikistan‘s President Emomali Rakhmon: 25 years, first rising to power in 1992 amid a bloody civil war.
  • Eritrea‘s President Isaias Afwerki: 24 years.

Source: Al Jazeera

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