Who are the world's oldest leaders?

Malaysia's Mahathir Mohamad after general election, May 10, 2018
Malaysia's Mahathir Mohamad after general election, May 10, 2018 Copyright REUTERS/Lai Seng Sin
By Euronews
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After the election victory of Malaysia's Mahathir Mohamad, aged 92, Euronews profiles some pensioners past and present who have occupied the world stage.


Malaysia’s Mahathir Mohamad, who is set to become the world’s oldest leader aged 92, was born in July 1925. We take a look at some other pensioners, past and present, who have occupied the world stage.

Queen Elizabeth II

Chris Jackson/Pool via Reuters
Queen Elizabeth II in Windsor, England, April 22, 2018Chris Jackson/Pool via Reuters

Britain’s monarch turned 92 in April, and became the world’s oldest leader last year — remaining so until Mahathir Mohamad’s victory in Malaysia. She has been on the throne for almost 66 years, having become queen at the age of 25 in 1952 following the death of her father, King George VI.

Beji Caid Essebsi

REUTERS/Zoubeir Souissi
Tunisian's President Beji Caid Essebsi at a news conference in Tunis, Tunisia, January 31, 2018.REUTERS/Zoubeir Souissi

Tunisia’s 91-year-old president, who took office in December 2014, is the north African nation’s first democratically elected head of state. He was formerly a parliamentary speaker under Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali, the first autocratic leader to be ousted in the “Arab Spring” uprising of 2011.

Kim Yong-nam

REUTERS/Marco Bello
Kim Yong-nam in September 2016REUTERS/Marco Bello

North Korea’s head of the Presidium of the Supreme People’s Assembly has been described as the reclusive country’s “nominal head of state” and very influential behind the scenes. Now aged 90, he is a former foreign minister.

Sheikh Sabah IV Ahmad al-Jaber al-Sabah

REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
Emir of Kuwait Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah with US President Donald Trump at the White House, September 7, 2017REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

The Emir of Kuwait will be 89 in June 2018. Born in 1929, he became leader officially in 2006 but in practice had taken the reins years earlier due to the health problems of his predecessor and half-brother, Sheikh Jaber al-Ahmad al-Sabah.

Dame Marguerite PindlingReuters

Dame Marguerite Pindling

The Governor-General of the Bahamas since 2014 is the world’s oldest female leader. Born in 1932, she will turn 86 in June 2018. She is the widow of the Bahamas’ former Prime Minister and “Father of the Nation” Lynden Pindling. A Commonwealth nation, the Governor-General is the Queen’s official representative.

Sir Colville YoungReuters

Sir Colville Young

The 85-year-old has been Governor-General of Belize, also a member of the Commonwealth, for 25 years. A politician since the 1960s, he has been closely involved in education, music and literature.

Cameroon President Paul Biya in 2013Reuters

Paul Biya

The President of Cameroon, also 85, has been the African country’s leader since 1982. Previously prime minister, he has kept a close relationship with France, Cameroon’s former colonial ruler. A reluctant convert to multi-party politics, his elections have brought allegations of voting irregularities and fraud.

Japan's Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko, Tokyo, April 2018Reuters


Japan’s Emperor succeeded his father in 1989. Now aged 84, he is due to abdicate in 2019. He famously made a morale-boosting live TV appearance after the 2011 earthquake and tsunami, and with his wife visited a temporary housing shelter.

Lebanese President Michel AounReuters

Michel Aoun

Lebanon’s President, 83, was elected in 2016. He was previously an army general and served as prime minister. Aoun spent 15 years in exile after Syrian forces invaded the country in 1990.

Palestinian President Mahmoud AbbasReuters

Mahmoud Abbas

The President of the Palestinian Authority is also 83. A member of the Fatah party and former chairman of the Palestinian Liberation Organisation (PLO), he took over the presidency in 2005 having previously been prime minister. For years his office was not recognised by Fatah’s main rival, Hamas, until an agreement in 2014.

Raul CastroReuters

Raul Castro

Cuba’s former President was 86 when he stepped down in April 2018, having taken over the role 10 years earlier from his revolutionary brother Fidel. He is still First Secretary of the Communist Party, the most senior position in the country.

Robert MugabeReuters

Robert Mugabe

Zimbabwe’s former president was 93 and the world’s oldest serving head of state when he was forced to resign in November 2017.

Thailand's former King Bhumibol AdulyadejREUTERS/Edgar Su

Bhumibol Adulyadej

Thailand’s former King was the world’s longest-reigning head of state at the time of his death in 2016, aged 88.

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