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By AFP


The world’s youngest elected leaders

Gabriel Boric, a former student protest leader, was elected the country's youngest-ever president at the age of 35 in December 2021.


Ecuador’s 35-year-old president-elect, banana empire heir Daniel Noboa, joins a growing group of world leaders who were elected to the top job before they turned 40.

Here are the others:

Chile’s Gabriel Boric

Gabriel Boric, a former student protest leader, was elected the country’s youngest-ever president at the age of 35 in December 2021.

Boric defeated a far-right candidate on a promise to turn Chile into a greener, more egalitarian “welfare state” but his attempts to replace the country’s dictatorship-era constitution with a more progressive text that allows elective abortion and dramatically boosts Indigenous rights were rejected by voters in a referendum.

El Salvador’s Nayib Bukele

Populist Nayib Bukele was 37 when he was elected president of the Central American nation in February 2019.

His war against violent street gangs has won him the plaudits of the population, despite heavy criticism from human rights organisations.

His party has backed him to seek a legally controversial second term.

France’s Emmanuel Macron

Former investment banker Emmanuel Macron capped a meteoric rise from a little-known economy minister to France’s youngest president in 2017 at 39 at the head of a new party styling itself as “neither of the left nor the right”.

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His first term in power was rocked by “yellow vest” protests but he defeated far-right rival Marine Le Pen for a second time in April 2022 to win re-election.

Georgia’s Irakli Garibashvili

Irakli Garibashvili became the youngest government leader in Europe in 2013 when he was elected prime minister of Georgia at the age of 31, as the protege of billionaire ex-leader Bidzina Ivanishvili.

He advocates for what he calls a “balanced” policy to Russia, adopting a neutral stance on the war in Ukraine while seeking closer ties with the EU and NATO.

Ireland’s Leo Varadkar

Leo Varadkar broke the mould in traditional, Catholic Ireland when he became the country’s first openly gay “taoiseach”, the term for the republic of Ireland’s prime minister, in 2017.

He was also the first from an ethnic minority and the youngest ever, aged 38.

Varadkar, whose father is Indian, returned for a second stint in December 2022.

Kosovo’s Vjosa Osmani

Vjosa Osmani, a law professor, was elected Kosovo’s second female president in April 2021 at the age of 38 after winning the most votes of any candidate in the country’s parliamentary election.

“Don’t stop, don’t stop moving forward. All your dreams can come true,” she told women after her election.

Montenegro’s Jakov Milatovic

Jakov Milatovic, a pro-European economist, who doubled the minimum wage, was 36 when he ousted longtime leader Milo Djukanovic, a Socialist, in a presidential runoff in April 2023.

ALSO READ: Limpopo Municipality: Fourth mayor elected in 16 months

His position is a mostly ceremonial position but Milatovic’s victory shook up the political landscape, paving the way for the Europe Now platform to win parliamentary elections two months later.

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