On August 9, the presidential election in Belarus ended with the result, which has been repeated five times before – Alexander Lukashenko won. However, this time a number of countries did not believe in the honesty of such a result, as well as many thousands of Belarusians who took part in anti-government protests.
Lukashenko is not a unique example here. There are many permanent rulers: among countries with a republican or mixed form of government, as well as among monarchies.
Thailand. Bhumibol Adulyadej – 70 years in power
The longest-reigning monarch in world history is called the King of Thailand, Bhumibol Adulyadej, who ascended the throne back in 1946 and remained there until his death in 2016.
During his 70-year rule, the Thai leader has survived 18 coup attempts and had more than two dozen prime ministers. Now the constitutional monarch of the country is his son Vajiralongkorn (Phrabat Somdet Phra Vajira Klao Chao Yu Hua).
Elizabeth II – 68 years in power
The longest-standing monarch in the world is Elizabeth II on the throne. In September 2015, she became Britain's longest-serving head of state, overtaking her great-great-grandmother, Queen Victoria.
In 2020, Her Majesty turned 94 years old. According to a spokesman for the Prince of Wales, Charles, there was never any talk at court about limiting the Queen's power due to her age.
Brunei. Hassanal Bolkiah - 53 years in power
Sultan of Brunei Hassanal Bolkiah is second lace in terms of the length of stay on the throne among the currently living monarchs - he has been in power for 53 years.
The politician is known for his love of luxury, and Brunei itself, thanks to its oil and gas reserves, is considered one of the richest and most affluent countries in the world.
The former Spanish colony, which became an independent state in 1968, has seen only two rulers in its entire history.
The first of these was Francisco Macias Nguema, who was overthrown in 1979 by his nephew, Obiang Nguema, through a bloody military coup. He became the second and so far the last head of Equatorial Guinea.
The politician survived at least two coup attempts, but neither this nor the obvious nepotism in the government bodies prevents him from winning the next elections for 41 years, while gaining, according to official data, at least 97% of the votes.
Nguema received the least support for the entire time he was in power in 2016, when only 93% of the population voted for him (by local standards).
In 2011, a referendum was held in the country, following which the post of vice president was introduced. The son of the incumbent leader, Theodore Obiang, Jr., came to an office. Some sources assure that he is being prepared to take over his father's place.
Nevertheless, Obiang Nguema tops the list of long-term presidents (not monarchs) today. But another ruler from the African continent, from Cameroon, neighboring Equatorial Guinea ranked second
Cameroon. Paul Biya - 38 years in power
"Make Cameroon more cohesive, stable, and prosperous." This is how his Paul Biya, President of Cameroon, a state in western Central Africa, explained his decision to run for a seventh term in 2018.
The politician has managed to stay in power over the past 38 years thanks to amendments made to the Constitution, which gave him the right to be re-elected an unlimited number of times.
In the last elections, which were held in Cameroon in October 2018, the main rival of the current president, opposition leader Maurice Kamto, accused him of rigging the voting results: Kamto had 14.23% of the vote, while Biya gained 71.28%.
At the same time, if you look back at the beginning of the presidential career of the Cameroonian leader, the result of just over 71% is not so good. This is because in the 1984 elections, Biya won 99.98% of the vote, and in 1988 - 98.75%.
In recent years, the politician has received a more modest percentage of votes. Given that nearly half of the population in a relatively wealthy country lives below the poverty line, 100% electoral support for Biya would raise many questions.
Uganda. Yoweri Museveni - 34 years in power
This head of state is serving his sixth term in power. His cadence of 2001-2006 was supposed to be the last one.
Realizing this fact, in 2005 Museveni prepared amendments to the Constitution, which were soon supported by the country's parliament.
Thus, the limitation on the number of presidential terms was lifted, and the opposition had no choice but to fight in attempts to challenge them at each subsequent election.
So far, these efforts, judging by the continuing rule of Musaveni, have not brought any fundamental changes.
Chad. Idriss Déby - 30 years in power
The incumbent leader of one of the largest and poorest states in Central Africa, like his Ugandan counterpart, resorted to rewriting the constitution when in 2005 he lifted the limit on the number of presidential terms.
On the eve of the last elections (2016), opposition-organized strikes began in the capital N'Djamena and a number of other cities, which were held under the slogan "Enough already."
But, as the facts say (and the official voting results), there was not "enough" for Idriss Déby – he got 61.56% of the vote, which helped him win another victory.
It is noteworthy that on that very day "X" in Chad the Internet was disconnected, and foreign television operators could not cover the elections, as their licenses were not renewed.
Prior to this, during the election race, the country's Constitutional Council refused to register Ngarlejy Yorongar as a candidate, one of Deby's main opponents.
Tajikistan. Emomali Rahmon - 26 years in power
Rahmon took over the leadership of Tajikistan back in 1994, when the country was in a civil war. Since then, he has been re-elected three times: in 1999, 2006, and 2013.
In 2003, following a popular referendum, the presidential term was increased from five to seven years, while all previous cadences of the current leader were canceled.
In the last elections in 2013, according to official data, 83.6% of voters supported Rahmon with a turnout of 87%.
In 2016, another referendum on amendments to the Constitution was held in the country, which made it possible for the current president to be re-elected an unlimited number of times.
It also approved a reduction in the age limit for presidential candidates from 35 to 30, which is expected to allow Rahmon's son to run for president this year.
Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko has a similar term of office - 26 years.
Azerbaijan. Ilham Aliyev - 17 years in power
Aliyev has been leading the country since 2003. He was re-elected head of state in 2008, 2013 and 2018. According to the changes introduced in the autumn of 2016 to the Constitution of Azerbaijan, the country's president will be elected for a seven-year term.
Former long-term presidents
Angola. Jose Eduardo dos Santos - 38 years in power
When in 2017, the head of state, who had not been replaced for the last 38 years, refused to participate in the next elections, he was replaced by the former Minister of Defense, João Manuel Gonçalves Lourenço. It is assumed that dos Santos personally selected him for this position.
However, something went wrong, and Lourenço, contrary to the agreements with his predecessor, began a merciless fight against corruption.
Dos Santos' inner circle, including his daughter, considered one of the richest women in Africa, was the first to fall under the anti-corruption campaign.
Zimbabwe. Robert Mugabe - 37 years in power
This former ruler was called "the oldest dictator in the world." Mugabe has served as Prime Minister of Zimbabwe since 1980, and in 1987 he abolished this office, appointing himself President of the country.
The politician was removed from the office, which he been heading for 37 years, only in 2017 through a military coup.
Kazakhstan. Nursultan Nazarbayev - 30 years in power
The country's citizens have chosen Nazarbayev on a regular basis since the collapse of the Soviet Union and the country's independence.
The word "elected" means the official results of the voting, which almost always showed more than 90% support for the president who has been permanent for 30 years.
It is noteworthy that none of the elections held in Kazakhstan were accepted by the West as free and fair, and the ex-president was accused of human rights violations by several human rights organizations.
Nevertheless, Nazarbayev is the record holder for the longest stay of the head of state in the post-Soviet space.