The indomitables

In time of doubt, when many long-ruling leaders are falling by the way, there are others who remain firmly in charge. They have done everything in their power to remain at the helm. Such is the case of King Abdullah II of Jordan and Ayatollah Ali Khamenei of Iran. Both leader have used their considerable power to calm down riots in Jordan and to successfully win the electoral struggle in Iran. Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez was facing not only a political struggle, but also a personal one. His fight with cancer has not stopped his intended run for reelection in October 2012. Vladimir Putin, too, ran for reelection. While no other candidate posed a serious threat, allowing him to win his third term as Russian Federation President without any problems, the restive crowds protesting in the squares of Moscow gave those eager for his ouster a ray of hope. Each of these eminent political figures has been in charge for at least a decade (Khamenei for over two decades) and they have left a mark on their country. Now the question is whether they will be able to confront the challenges of the 21st century? The structure of their power seems to suggest they are not. But a leader does not reign for so long without the ability to adapt himself and the structure in which he works.