Power, they say, is a very slippery thing. Nonetheless, in some parts of the world, leaders have learnt to maintain a strong grasp on the elusive phenomenon. Over 160 countries in the world operate a democracy, where their leaders rule in terms. Still, some world leaders have maintained their positions longer than others. As they have become a part of history, we feel the need to review the top 5 longest ruling leaders in the world:
The current president of Equatorial Guinea and the longest-ruling and longest current serving male president in history. The 77-year-old patriarch began his rule in 1979, making a 41-year leadership stint on the Central African nation. He obtained power in a coup where he overthrew his uncle and became president, with his son as Vice President.
2. Paul Biya
He first took office in the 1960s, serving as Secretary-General of the Presidency from 1968 to 1975. Thereafter he assumed the office of Prime Minister of Cameroon from 1975 to 1982. Subsequently, He became President in 1982 and consolidated power in a 1983–1984 staged attempted coup in which he eliminated all his rivals. The 86 year old is the longest-ruling non-royal leader in the world and the oldest leader in Africa.
3. Sayyid Ali Hosseini Khamenei
The Twelver Shia Marja is the second and current supreme leader in Iran. He began to rule as President from 1981 to 1989 before becoming the Supreme leader of the Middle Eastern nation. Khamenei is the longest-serving head of state in the Middle East and the second-longest serving Iranian leader of the last century. His leadership journey has not been without hazards as he was a victim of an assassination attempt in 1981 that paralysed his right arm.
4. Denis Sassou Nguesso
The Congolese President is unlike other leaders in this category who have ruled at a stretch. The 76-year-old first became President of the Republic of Congo in 1979. He ruled for 12 years till 1992 under the single-party regime of the Congolese Party of Labour. In 1990, he introduced multiparty politics and was then stripped of executive powers by the 1991 National Conference. Despite remaining in office as a ceremonial head of state, he contested and lost in the 1992 presidential elections. He won the 2002 presidential elections and has been re-elected ever since.
5. Hun Sen
The Cambodian politician has served as the Prime Minister of Cambodia since 1985. He is currently the world’s longest-serving prime minister and the longest-serving head of government of Cambodia. Hun Sen was 32 years old when he became Prime Minister, making him at that time the world’s youngest head of government. Currently, the 67 years old is serving his fifth prime ministerial term.