Top 10 World Leaders With the Largest Amount of Power and Authority

Tags: #popefrancis ,   #JoeBiden ,   #putin ,   #Politics

Dan N. Scarborough

Dan N. Scarborough

Last updated:  2023-05-14 06:00:08

Rulers' might is defined by the amount of power and authority they have. Power is measured by the number of denizens, a country's military and economic prowess, and other factors. Authority is reflected in the freedom a ruler could have in their actions. Some powerful people have limited authority, and some very authoritarian rulers don't have much power. This list will present world leaders that excel in power or authority, and in some cases, both. 

10. King Mswati III of Swaziland

Total rule, but over a relatively poor country
Born: 1968
Position: King of Eswatini
Amount of Authority: Absolute
Amount of Power: Minor 

Africa's only absolute monarchy is Eswatini, which has 1.3 million residents. King Mswati III has ruled the tiny nation in southern Africa since 1986. Unfortunately, Eswatini has a large rural population living in poverty. The ruling family unveiled a new constitution with a bill of rights in 2006. Yet, human rights advocates claim that the monarchy has kept its restrictions on free speech, assembly, and association.

In 2018, Mswati stated that he was renaming the nation "the Kingdom of Eswatini," meaning "the land of Swazis." The declaration was issued on the 50th anniversary of the nation's liberation from British dominion. However, while the name change is officially accepted, many recognize it was one man's decision.

9. Narendra Modi

Modi enjoys massive popularity among the Indian people
Born: 1950
Position: Prime Minister of India
Amount of Authority: Moderate
Amount of Power: High

The greatest democracy in the world, India, has had many prime ministers, and the 14th is Narendra Modi. Modi was born in the Northeastern Gujarat village of Vadnagar in 1950. He spent two years traveling throughout India after completing his high school education, stopping at various holy sites. 

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which has the highest primary membership in the world, is Modi's political option. As a result of high support, he is now an executive leader of the most populous nations. Previously, from 2001 to 2014, he served as Gujarat state's chief minister. Moreover, he represents Uttar Pradesh's Varanasi constituency in the legislature.

8. Prince Albert II of Monaco 

An example of a modern hereditary monarch
Born: 1958
Position: Prince of Monaco
Amount of Authority: High
Amount of Power: Moderate

Prince Albert II is the head of Monaco, a hereditary constitutional monarchy founded in 1911. The postage stamp-sized country of 39,000 people depends heavily on tourism for economic growth. The nation's constitution was changed in 1962 to grant certain of its judicial and legislative branches independence.

For instance, the National Council, a body of 24 people chosen by the people every five years, and the prince currently share legislative authority. The National Council votes on the laws that the prince proposes. The seven-member Crown Council, which the prince also names its president, advises him on local and foreign matters. This includes the ratification of treaties and the awarding of citizenship and amnesty.

7. King Hamed bin Isa Khalifa of Bahrain

From a sheik to a king in one easy step
Born: 1950
Position: King of Bahrain
Amount of Authority: Absolute 
Amount of Power: Moderate

Since 1783, the Khalifa family has been in charge of the little island in the Persian Gulf. The defense, interior, finance, and foreign affairs ministries are all under the jurisdiction of members of the royal family. Yet, throughout the past three decades, changes have been made to the nation's political structure. Sheik Hamed bin Isa Khalifa, who came to power in 1999, transformed the emirate into a kingdom and crowned himself king three years later.

The monarchy has come under fire from human rights organizations for its crackdown on the opposition. In advance of the parliamentary elections in November 2018, authorities detained activists and political opponents who opposed the monarchy, according to an Amnesty International report.

6. Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah of Brunei

Sultan rules over Brunei with an iron hand
Born: 1946
Position: Sultan of Brunei
Amount of Authority: Near Absolute
Amount of Power: Moderate

Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah has ruled the tiny, oil-rich Asian country for over 50 years. Yet, the monarchy has faced challenging circumstances. A British protectorate over Brunei was established in 1906 due to British intervention in the nation's affairs in the late 19th century. This arrangement permitted the country's governing dynasty and line of succession to continue.

Bolkiah is also in charge of the Finance Ministry and the nation's Armed Forces. When the monarchy said in 2019 that it would start stoning anyone accused of adultery or homosexuality as part of a new penal code based on sharia law, it incited anger around the world. Yet, Sultan claims the country won't use this type of punishment.

 5. Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud

The real power behind the Saudi king
Born: 1985
Position: Crown Prince/ Prime Minister deputy of Saudi Arabia
Amount of Authority: Moderate (but growing)
Amount of Power: High

Mohammed bin Salman, often referred to as MBS, is a Saudi Arabian politician who serves as the crown prince and deputy prime minister. In addition, he holds the positions of Minister of Defense, Chairman of the Council for Economic and Development Affairs, and Chairman of the Council for Political and Security Affairs.

MBS is frequently referred to as the force behind King Salman's throne. In 2017, King Salman replaced him by appointing MBS as crown prince in favor of his nephew Muhammad bin Nayef. MBS successfully enacted many significant domestic reforms, including laws to limit religious police authorities, lifting the ban on women driving, and weakening the male guardianship system.

4. Joe Biden

POTUS is a very powerful man
Born: 1942
Position: President of the United States of America
Amount of Authority: High
Amount of Power: Very High

In 2020, Joseph Biden succeeded Donald Trump as the 46th president of the United States. Previously, he was a Democrat senator representing Delaware from 1973 to 2009 and the 47th vice president of the United States. He is also the oldest elected president in American history. 

The president's executive powers include the ability to sign and veto legislation, command the military, negotiate treaties, and appoint federal judges and other high-ranking officials. He can also issue executive orders, which carry the force of law. Nonetheless, congress can override a presidential veto in the House of Representatives and the Senate. Yet, they need a two-thirds vote to do so. The Supreme Court can also declare presidential actions unconstitutional. Still, the president's power is immense, as the USA remains a top world power. 

3. Vladimir Putin

Still going strong despite critics
Born: 1952
Position: President of Russia
Amount of Authority: Very High
Amount of Power: High

Since 2012, this former intelligence officer has presided over Russia. He served as Russia's Prime Minister twice, from 2008 to 2012 and again from 1999 to 2000. Before entering politics, Putin spent 16 years working for the KGB as an international intelligence officer, rising to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel.

For the effective 20 years as Russia's leader, Putin managed to transform the state from a war-torn and almost bankrupt country to a military and economic leader in the region. Despite being heavily criticized and sanctioned by the West, Putin still maintains his highly authoritative rule under the guise of modern democracy. 

2. Xi Jinping

An indisputable leader of the biggest country
Born: 1953
Position: President of the People's Republic of China
Amount of Authority: Very High
Amount of Power: Very High

Xi Jinping has served as the People's Republic of China's president since 2013. Notwithstanding the western world's perception of him as a tyrant or an authoritarian leader based on a rise in mass surveillance, a degradation in human rights, and the censorship of news, the Internet, and events, he has been regarded as the most powerful person in the world.

He occupied the position of the Central Military Commission director, followed by the general secretary of the Chinese Communist Party, before being elected president of China. He passed a package of constitutional modifications in 2018 to end China's presidential term limitations. Therefore, he maintains a tight grip on the ruling party.

1. Pope Francis

The best ratio of power and authority
Born: 1936
Position: Head of the Catholic Church
Amount of Authority: Near Absolute 
Amount of Power: Immense

As the leader of the Catholic Church, Pope Francisco is the ruler of the State of Vatican City. He has supporters all across the world and is one of the most well-liked international leaders. He was born in Argentina and spent his formative years as a janitor and bouncer. Afterward, he received pharmacy training to become a chemist.

After recuperating from a serious illness, he was inspired to join the Society of Jesus, and 11 years later, he was ordained as a priest. He became the first Pope who was a member of the Jesuits. Afterward, he was elected Archbishop and made a cardinal. Although Vatican City is the smallest state in the world, its power is immense, and the Pope has roughly 1,3 billion people under his wing. 

Absolute power is the ultimate goal of most people who are into politics. However, true absolute power is rare to find. You'd have to be the heir of a long line of rulers or rule under the guise of democracy. There are some very powerful individuals in the world, but their rule is, in most cases, limited by the constitution and parliament. Thus, pure autocracy is rare and reserved for countries away from the spotlight. 

Who do you consider the most powerful leader in the world? Which rulers would you add to the list?  

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