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This is when a dictator tries to make sure he is in power permanently by giving himself the title "President For Life", declaring himself a de facto monarch who happens to have a republican title.

This does not include presidents who simply happened to expire before their predefined terms did. Nor does it include presidents who served multiple terms via show elections where there was no other candidate. This is about doing away with elections altogether. Definitely a sign of a People's Republic of Tyranny, and very often a President Evil.

Whether they actually serve for the rest of their lives is quite another question.

This makes distinguishing between "republic" and "monarchy" (especially if the dictator is President For Life of a Hereditary Republic) a Royal Mess, and there have been cases of a President For Life crossing that line and declaring himself King or Emperor, becoming a Monarch in name as well (Jean-Claude Bokassa is the most recent example).

Compare: The Generalissimo and Just the First Citizen, with which there is often overlap (especially the former). Contrast Permanent Elected Official.

Examples of President for Life include:


Newspaper Comics

  • Calvin and Hobbes: Calvin calls himself Supreme Dictator and President for Life of G.R.O.S.S.

Professional Wrestling

  • Ric Flair became President of WCW, and later declared himself President For Life.

Video Games

  • Possible in the Tropico series, but the risk is civil unrest once the people decide that they really want free elections again.

Western Animation

Real Life

  • Quite popular amongst real-life dictators, and has its own article at That Other Wiki. Some even lived up to the term.
    • Famously, Ugandan dictator Idi Amin proclaimed himself this in many of his narmtastic rants.
    • François Duvalier of Haiti. Died in office.
    • Saparmurat Niyazov of Turkmenistan. Died in office.
    • Hastings Banda of Malawi. Stripped of title in 1993, defeated in an election in 1994.
    • Kwame Nkrumah, thrown out of office in 1966
    • Josip Broz Tito of Yugoslavia. Died in office in 1980.
    • Sheikh Mujibur Rahman of Bangladesh. Assassinated 1975, after only seven months in power.
    • Jean-Bédel Bokassa of the Central African Republic. Declared President For Life in 1972, then went all the way and was crowned Emperor of the Central African Empire in 1976. Deposed 1979.
    • Subverted with Kim Il-sung of North Korea, who was declared Eternal President of the Republic after he'd died. However, he was NOT President For Life while he was alive; his term was regularly renewed via show elections.
    • Ilham Aliyev of Azerbaijan, who took office in 2003 after the death of his father Haydar, suspiciously enough.
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