The election of Joe Biden cast a light on the age of national leaders. Biden is 78 and will be 81 if he runs for president again. Several world leaders have been much older. Winston Churchill was in his 80s when he was U.K. prime minister from 1952 through 1955. That was during a period when it was unusual for anyone to live well into their 80s.
In both the Biden and Churchill cases, voters fairly wondered if their ability to govern would erode. Some American presidents, even in the 20th century, had short lives. Franklin Roosevelt died at 63, just as he began his unprecedented fourth term as U.S. president. Many believe the pressure of the job simply wore him out.
24/7 Wall St. reviewed the ages of heads of state to determine the country with the oldest leader. Only leaders who administer the executive duties of their government were considered.
The world’s oldest leaders have all had different paths to the top of their nation’s government. Some have built up the political experience and won an election. Others are monarchs who ascended to their throne following the death of a family member.
A handful of the world’s oldest rulers seized power by force or election tampering and have refused to let it go for decades. In many of these cases, rulers forced out political opponents, bribed allies and changed the laws governing their country to allow them to stay in power indefinitely.
Paul Biya, the president of Cameroon, is 88. He was born on February 13, 1933.
He has served as president of the African nation since 1982. He won his seventh seven-year term in 2018, after abolishing term limits in 2008. Biya has been criticized for being an absentee chief executive, as he spends extensive time overseas. His time as president has been marked by charges of corruption and erosion of democratic institutions.