Monarchy: A Few Revivals

Despite the decline and fall of monarchy in many nations, a few nations have recently created new monarchies, and a few leaders have tried to have monarchy-style succession.

The most successful one has been North Korea, which has been the world’s only Communist monarchy. Its first leader was Kim Il-Sung, and in 1980, he chose his successor: his son Kim Jong-Il. When he died on 8 July 1994, Kim Jong-Il became North Korea’s leader. There is now a lot of speculation as to who will be Kim Jong-Il’s successor, but the most likely candidate at this time is his youngest son, Kim Jong-Un.

Cuba may have recently become a second Communist monarchy. In 2008, Long-time leader Fidel Castro has retired and handed his position over to his brother Raul. However, both men are very old, and there is no hint as to who their successor might be.

The more usual succession practice in Communist countries is, however, that of an oligarchic republic, like the Republic of Venice. Leaders have come to power by being elected by high-level Communist Party officials.

There are also some cases outside of the Communist world, and they have been extensions of strongman rule.

In Syria, Hafez Assad ruled from 13 Nov 1970 to his death in 10 June 2000. He originally wanted to be succeeded by his son Basil, but Basil died in a car accident in 1994. So he chooe another son, Bashar, who did succeed him. At this time, there is still no hint as to who might succeed Bashar, something complicated by the rebellion currently in Syria.

In Haiti, Francois “Papa Doc” Duvalier ruled from 22 Oct 1957 to his death in 21 Apr 1971. He was succeeded by his son Jean-Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier, who ruled until he was overthrown in 7 Feb 1986.

There are even a few abortive cases.

In Iraq, Saddam Hussein wanted to be succeeded by his son Uday, and later by his son Qusay. But he was deposed in the 2003 Iraq War, those two sons were killed in it, and he was executed on 30 Dec 2006.

In Libya, Muammar Khadafy supposedly wanted to be succeeded by one of his sons, Saif al Islam. But Muammar was killed on 20 Oct 2011, the day of the fall of the last bit of his domain. The whereabouts of Saif al Islam are unknown, but of the rest of Muammar’s family, his sons Saif al Arab, Mutassim, and Khamis are now dead, his son Saadi has fled to Niger, and his wife Safia, his sons Mohammed and Hannibal, and his daughter Aisha have fled to Algeria. It is unlikely that either his successor the National Transitional Council or many Libyans will want to welcome them back.

But it should be evident that these monarchies and would-be monarchies are a weak countertrend against the continuing anti-monarchy trend.

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