The longest-serving president in the world is running again

The world’s longest-reigning leader, Equatorial Guinea’s President Teodoro Obiang, will run for a new term in elections in November, his party announced. Thus, his 43-year rule so far, which began after he took power in a coup in 1979, will most likely continue, Reuters reported.

His son, Vice President Teodoro Nguema Obiang Mange, known for his lavish lifestyle, fondness for parties, fast cars and jewelry, who in 2020 was found guilty by a French court of embezzlement, announced on Twitter that the candidacy his father was reinstated because of his “charisma, leadership qualities and political experience”.

A new mandate will present Obiang with tough challenges. The economy has been hit hard by the covid pandemic and the subsequent drop in oil prices, although the war in Ukraine and the resulting need for oil and gas that does not come from Russia could help boost growth.

Poverty remains widespread in Equatorial Guinea. This became particularly evident when a series of barracks explosions leveled part of the coastal city of Bata last year, killing around 100 people, prompting former colonial ruler Spain to send humanitarian aid.

The 80-year-old Obiang’s rule has been marked by torture of political opponents, election rigging and corruption, rights groups and foreign powers say. Obiang denies the allegations.

Under his rule, the West African country has become increasingly closed and relies on natural gas and oil for about three-quarters of government revenue. The money fills the pockets of people from the president’s entourage, while the majority of the people live in poverty, human rights organizations claim.


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