Oldest leaders: Hasina fourth senior in Asia, Mahathir top in world

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Hindustan Surkhiyan Desk:Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, 70, has been ranked the fourth senior head of state based on age in Asia while Malaysian leader Mahathir Mohamad is the world’s oldest.

Sheikh Hasina’s father Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman led the Liberation War of Bangladesh and she is continuing his legacy. She has stood firmly against two military regimes.

She is one of the 100 influential people on the list of Time magazine. While she has received lot of recognition for accepting Rohingya refugees, she has also faced criticism within her country for mauling dissent.

Although the world has seen old elected leaders’ ageism has always been a rallying point for politicians. During the campaign for US election there were lot of references to Trump’s age making him unfit to hold the highest position.

While the opposition did refer to age as a factor in making him unsuitable for the position, Malaysians elected the oldest leader in history to head the country. Mahathir Mohamad aged 92 is 21 years older than US President Donald Trump and twice the age of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Experience in politics seems to be a key deciding factor for Asians to elect leaders thus most of the leaders are on the higher side of age. Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte 73 years of age is the most controversial president of the country. He has been attracting lot of criticism owing to his undiplomatic remarks and his war on drugs. Lao Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith is 72 years of age. He has been in power since 2016 and has held significant political positions before being the prime minister of Laos.

Ranil Wickremesinghe was the youngest cabinet minister in Sri Lanka. At age 69 he is the tenth prime minister of the country.

Indian Prime Minister Narender Modi (67) is the star attraction. He is considered as one of the most famous political leaders that the country has seen. Although the minority rights violation has increased under his rule, his popularity seems anything but diminishing.

At 66 the leaders of South Korea, Myanmar, Nepal and Singapore are the same age.

Cambodian PM (65) Hun Sen has been in power since 1985 and is one of the longest serving Prime minister in the world. While he has been responsible for pulling the country out of the devastation caused by Khmer Rouge, he is also seen as a very authoritarian leader with a poor human rights record.

Xi Jingping (64), the leader of the ruling Chinese Communist Party has been one of the most influential leaders of the country with his name mentioned in the constitution, an honour reserved for  after Mao Zedong until now.

Hailing from a political family Shinzo Abe (63) is on the fourth term of being Japan’s highest leader. Under his leadership and economic policies known as “Abenomics” Japan managed to pump billions of dollars into its economic growth. The controversial Thai army chief Prayut Cha Chan (64) became the prime minister after the dramatic coup after which the country did not see elections.

While Brunei Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah (51) is youngest in age, Bhutan PM Tshering Tobgay (52) is the youngest elected leader in the region. The Harvard educated leader is the second elected prime minister of the country.

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