Which country’s leaders have lasted the longest? Does Angela Merkel get the top spot?
The European Council is made up of the heads of government of each European member-state, as well as the non-voting Jean-Claude Juncker and Donald Tusk.
Here are the seven longest-serving EU leaders:
7. Nicos Anastasiades
The president of Cyprus has been in his country’s top job since 2013, putting him in seventh place on this list. This right-of-centre leader won the 2013 Cyprus presidential election with over 57% of the vote, and is up for re-election next year.
6. Robert Fico
Slovakia’s prime minister has been in his job since 2012, placing him sixth on this list, however, it is also worth noting that he served as prime minister between 2006 and 2010. This centre-left prime minister won an overall majority in the 2012 election. Then at the 2016 election, his party lost its majority, but stayed in power thanks to the formation of a multi-party coalition.
5. Mariano Rajoy
Spain has had its fair share of political turbulence over the last few years what with the independence movement in Catalonia and the inconclusive election of 2015. Rajoy has been Spain’s prime minister since 2011, leading the centre-right People’s Party.
4. Mark Rutte
The Netherlands’ Rutte has been prime minister of his country since the end of 2010. This liberal has led each government after the 2010, 2012 and 2017 elections in his country. In the most recent vote, his party saw of a challenge from the far-right Geert Wilders’ who ended up performing much poorer than anticipated.
3. Viktor Orban
He is known for promoting an “illiberal state” in Hungary, according to the BBC.
The next Hungarian election is due to take place in 2018.
2. Daila Grybauskaite
Grybauskaite is Lithuania’s president, and is currently serving her second term, having first been elected back in 2009, then again in 2014. This independent president won both of her elections with well over 50% of the vote each time, resulting in there being no need for a run-off election.
According to Time, this European leader is known as the “Iron Lady” and has a “black belt in karate.”
1. Angela Merkel
Germany’s “mutti” is the longest-serving consecutive European leader, having served in her country’s top job since 2005 way back when her CDU/CSU formed a grand coalition with the SPD. This was followed by a win in 2009 and a coalition with the liberal FPD, and another win in 2013 along with another grand coalition. Germany goes back the to the ballot box in September, and with polls suggesting that Merkel’s centre-right party will win the most seats, Angela Merkel looks set to remain the top dog in European politics for some time to come.
Due to only becoming the UK’s prime minister last July following June’s vote to leave the EU and David Cameron’s departure, May finds herself in the bottom half of this list. That said, despite her relative newness, she is the seventh-shortest serving EU leader, beating newbies such France’s Emmanuel Macron and Ireland’s Leo Varadkar.
The dates in this list are based off this record of European Council members.
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