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Data: Axios Research; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Belarusian President Aleksander Lukashenko's grip on power is being tested like never before in his 26-year tenure, with clashes across the country following Sunday's sham election.

The big picture: Lukashenko has weathered more storms than most. Just nine leaders who were in power when he was elected in 1994 — during Bill Clinton's first term — are still in office.

The longest-serving leaders all represent countries considered “not free” by Freedom House. They're also all men.

  • Germany's Angela Merkel is the longest-serving leader of a “free” country and the longest-serving woman, after 14 years in power.
  • Kazakhstan's Nursultan Nazarbayev, Sudan's Omar al-Bashir and Algeria's Abdelaziz Bouteflika all dropped off the "longest-serving" list last year.
  • Meanwhile, Russia's Vladimir Putin, Rwanda's Paul Kagame and Syria's Bashar al-Assad have recently marked two decades in power.
  • What to watch: Uganda's Yoweri Museveni faces an election early next year that will be competitive — if he allows it to be.

Worth noting:

  • We're only counting a leader's current tenure in their country's highest office (with a slight exception for Putin), and we left off monarchs like Queen Elizabeth II who aren't top political decision-makers.
  • We also left off countries with populations under 1 million.

Go deeper: Belarus protests turn deadly

Go deeper

Aug 16, 2020 - World

Belarus draws largest protest yet as Lukashenko rejects election do-over

Belarus opposition supporters attend a demonstration in central Minsk on Aug. 16. Photo: Sergei Gapon/AFP via Getty Images

Tens of thousands of protesters rallied in the Belarus capital of Minsk on Sunday as President Aleksandr Lukashenko, the man known as "Europe's last dictator," rejected calls to hold a new election and accused NATO of massing at the country's western border.

Why it matters: It was the eighth day of demonstrations since Lukashenko proclaimed a landslide victory over pro-democracy opposition in an election widely viewed as rigs, and likely the largest protest in the history of the former Soviet republic, according to the New York Times.

Updated 13 mins ago - Politics & Policy

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