25 Fascinating Facts about Presidents From Around the World

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1Abdou Diouf

Abdou Diouf

President Abdou Diouf began an anti-AIDS program in Senegal before the virus was able to take off. He used media and schools to promote safe-sex messages and required prostitutes to be registered. While AIDS was decimating much of Africa, the infection rate for Senegal stayed below 2%.

2. Former Russian president Boris Yeltsin during his visit to USA got drunk one night and wandered into the streets of Washington, D.C. in his underwear, trying to hail a taxi to buy pizza.

3. Canaan Banana, the first president of Zimbabwe, passed a law in 1982 outlawing jokes about his name.

4. Peljidiin Genden, the first president of Mongolia allegedly slapped and broke Stalin's pipe after Stalin pressured him to destroy Mongolia's Buddhist clergies.

5. Corazon Aquino was the wife of a staunch political opponent against the dictator of the Philippines. Upon the assassination of her husband by the dictator, she ran for president against him, winning and restoring democracy to the Philippines.

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6Dmitry Medvedev

Dmitry Medvedev

In 2011, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev signed an order making beer an alcoholic drink. The law went into effect on Jan 1st, 2013. Before this, any drink under 10% alcohol was considered a soft drink.

7. Even though he died in 1994, Kim Il-sung remains president of North Korea. The constitution was revised in 1998, declaring him 'Eternal President of the Republic', making North Korea the only necrocracy in the world - a government that still operates under the rules of a dead former leader.

8. In 1941, Élie Lescot, the President of Haiti declared war on Japan, Germany, Italy, Bulgaria, Hungary, and Romania. Only Romania bothered to declare war on Haiti in return.

9. Former Chinese President Yang Shangkun told his doctor before his death that the crackdown on June 4 had been the Communist Party's "most serious mistake in its history, a mistake he couldn't correct but which would eventually be corrected." He had initially opposed the use of force on students.

10. Seretse Khama was a Botswana monarch who was exiled from his country for marrying a white woman. After his return as a private citizen, he started an independence movement, became a president, and led Botswana to prosperity.

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Indonesian President Sukarno ordered a Christian Architect to build the largest Mosque in the country and laid the foundation stone was in 1961. He also ordered it to be built next to a Cathedral and a Church as a symbol of national-religious harmony and tolerance. (Indonesia has the world's largest Muslim population).

12. In 1987, Thomas Sankara (then president of Burkina Faso) was killed in a coup held by Blaise Compaoré. Ten years earlier, they were in a band together called 'Tout-à-Coup Jazz'.

13. Russia's Vladimir Putin once brought a large dog with him to a round of negotiations with Germany's Angela Merkel, knowing that she had a pathological fear of dogs, in order to gain a psychological edge.

14. "His Excellency, President for Life, Field Marshal Al Hadji Doctor Idi Amin Dada, VC, DSO, MC, Lord of All the Beasts of the Earth and Fishes of the Seas and Conqueror of the British Empire in Africa in General and Uganda in Particular" was the official title of Idi Amin, who ruled Uganda.

15. Salvador Allende, Latin America's "first-ever Marxist to be elected president in a liberal democracy"; gave his final speech while his house was being bombed and raided by troops loyal to Augusto Pinochet's US-backed coup. Allende committed suicide shortly after giving the speech.

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16Charles D.B. King

Charles D.B. King

Former president of Liberia Charles D.B. King holds the Guinness World record for the most fraudulent election ever, having won the 1927 election with 234,000 votes in a country of 15,000 voters.

17. President Park Chung Hee was responsible in large part for South Korea’s “economic miracle.” The programs he initiated gave his country one of the fastest-growing economies in the world during his 18-year rule.

18. Pedro Lascuráin Paredes was a Mexican politician who became president for less than one hour on February 19, 1913. This was due to a military coup by a General. The general had Lascuráin assume the presidency, then appoint him interior secretary, before resigning to make him president.

19. In 1979, using Coca-Cola, the Soviets tried to poison the President of Afghanistan (Hafizullah Amin) but it didn't work as the carbonation diluted the poison.

20. In 2005, Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili fired all of the traffic police in his country, cutting 25,000 to 30,000 police from the payroll to fight corruption. He also increased the minimum weekly salary from $30-$40 to around $400 for the new officers.

21Bashar al-Assad

Bashar al-Assad

President of Syria Bashar al-Assad graduated from medical school, began working as an army doctor on the outskirts of Damascus, and had few political aspirations in his early life.

22. Rodrigo Duterte, the president of the Philippines (as of 2020), has been credited with transforming 'the murder capital of the nation' to 'the most peaceful city in Southeast Asia', primarily through illegal death squads targeting criminals.

23. In 1992, Peruvian president Alberto Fujimori initiated a "self-coup". Despite already being the democratic ruler of the country, he overthrew the Congress and Judiciary with military force and assumed full autocratic power.

24. Former of President of Mexico Adolfo López Mateos used to fuel one of his cars with Tequila. Chrysler had made a car with a turbine engine that could run on everything from perfume to peanut oil.

25. Chinese President Xi Jinping ordered censoring Winnie the Pooh cartoons online and in media in China after he was made aware of his online comparison to Pooh bear.

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