The world's longest-serving leaders

World leaders who have held power the longest -- excluding monarchs enthroned for life


Afp March 12, 2018
Vladimir Putin is widely expected to win Russia's presidential election on Sunday. PHOTO: AFP

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

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Here are some of the world leaders who have held power the longest -- excluding monarchs enthroned for life.

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.

Cuba's revolutionary hero Fidel Castro. PHOTO: AFP Cuba's revolutionary hero Fidel Castro. PHOTO: AFP

Taiwan's first president Chiang Kai-shek was in charge on the island and in mainland China for a total of 47 years until his death in 1975.

Taiwan's first president Chiang Kai-shek. PHOTO: AFP Taiwan's first president Chiang Kai-shek. PHOTO: AFP

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."

North Korean founder Kim Il Sung. PHOTO: AFP North Korean founder Kim Il Sung. PHOTO: AFP

Albania's communist dictator Enver Hoxha was in power for 40 years until his death in 1985.

Albania's communist dictator Enver Hoxha. PHOTO: Albanian Tourist Albania's communist dictator Enver Hoxha. PHOTO: Albanian Tourist

Muammar Gaddafi ruled Libya with an iron fist for almost 42 years before being ousted and then slaughtered in 2011 by rebels.

Moamer Kadhafi ruled Libya with an iron fist for almost 42 years. PHOTO: AFP Moamer Kadhafi. PHOTO: AFP

Omar Bongo Ondimba governed oil-rich Gabon for more than 41 years until his death in 2009.

Omar Bongo Ondimba. PHOTO: AFP Omar Bongo Ondimba. PHOTO: AFP

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.

Equatorial Guinea's Teodoro Obiang Nguema. PHOTO: AFP Equatorial Guinea's Teodoro Obiang Nguema. PHOTO: AFP

Others that are still counting their years in power:

Cameroon's President Paul Biya: 35 years.

President Paul Biya. PHOTO: AFP President Paul Biya. PHOTO: AFP

Congo President Denis Sassou: 34 years, excluding a five-year pause.

President Denis Sassou. PHOTO: AFP President Denis Sassou. PHOTO: AFP

Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen: 33 years.

Prime Minister Hun Sen. PHOTO: AFP Prime Minister Hun Sen. PHOTO: AFP

Uganda's President Yoweri Museveni: 32 years.

President Yoweri Museveni. PHOTO: AFP President Yoweri Museveni. PHOTO: AFP

Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei: 29 years.

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. PHOTO: AFP Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. PHOTO: AFP

Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir: 28 years.

President Omar al-Bashir. PHOTO: AFP President Omar al-Bashir. PHOTO: AFP

Chad's President Idriss Deby: 27 years.

President Idriss Deby. PHOTO: AFP President Idriss Deby. PHOTO: AFP

Kazakhstan's President Nursultan Nazarbayev: 28 years.

President Nursultan Nazarbayev. PHOTO: AFP President Nursultan Nazarbayev. PHOTO: AFP

Tajikistan's President Emomali Rakhmon: 25 years.

President Emomali Rakhmon. PHOTO: AFP President Emomali Rakhmon. PHOTO: AFP

Eritrea's President Isaias Afwerki: 24 years.

President Isaias Afwerki. PHOTO: AFP President Isaias Afwerki. PHOTO: AFP

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