We were surprised to learn that one of the protestors’ grievances is that President Hosni Mubarak has been in office nearly 30 years --- surprised because we didn’t think any world leader, anywhere, has held power longer than our mayor, Richard M. Daley.
As it turns out, Mayor Daley is not even in the Top 10 of leaders who’ve clung to power for too long. He’s only number 11.
Here, then, is where Daley ranks among the world’s longest-serving autocrats.
1. Muammar al-Gaddafi, Leader and Guide of the Revolution, Libya September 1, 1969
2. Paul Biya, President, Cameroon June 30, 1975
3. Ali Abdullah Saleh, President, Yemen July 18, 1978
4. Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, President, Equatorial Guinea August 3, 1979
5. José Eduardo dos Santos, President, Angola September 10, 1979
6. Robert Mugabe, President, Zimbabwe April 18, 1980
7. Ali Khamenei, Supreme Leader, Iran October 2, 1981
8. Hosni Mubarak, President, Egypt October 7, 1981
9. Yoweri Museveni, President, Uganda January 26, 1986
10. Blaise Compaoré, President, Burkina Faso October 15, 1987
11. Richard M. Daley, Mayor, Chicago April 24, 1989
That’s not a bad showing. Daley has been in control of the Chicago Machine longer than the leaders of such Third World kleptocracies as Sudan, Tajikistan, North Korea, Burma, Cambodia and Congo-Brazzaville. He’s even more popular than the longest-serving democratically-elected leader on the list. In 2005, Paul Biya of Cameroon was re-elected with 70 percent of the vote. In 2007, Mayor Daley was re-elected with 72 percent of the vote.
Emanuel is an ambitious guy. He’s only 51, and he keeps himself in great shape by swimming and competing in triathlons. Someday, he could beat Daley’s showing by making it into the Top 10. To the health of our new leader!