Supreme leader

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A supreme leader typically refers to the person among a number of leaders of a state, organization or other such group who has been given or is able to exercise the most – or complete – authority over it. In a religion, this role is usually satisfied by a person deemed to be the representative or manifestation of a god or gods on Earth. In politics, a supreme leader usually has a cult of personality associated with them, such as below:

There have been many dictators and political party leaders who have assumed such personal and/or political titles to evoke their supreme authority. World War II, for example, saw many fascist and other far right figures model their rule on Hitler's Führer or Mussolini's Duce personae. On the far left, several communist leaders[example needed] adopted "Supreme"-styled titles and/ or followed Stalin's Vozhd example.

List of titles

Listed by date of establishment.

1930s and earlier

World War II

Cold War era

  • Mao Zedong, the first Chairman of the Communist Party of China, officially named 伟大领袖毛主席 (translit. Wěidà Lǐngxiù Zhǔxí - "Great Leader Chairman").
  • Kim Il Sung, the first head of state of North Korea, is officially referred to by the North Korean government as 위대한 수령 (translit. widaehan suryŏng - "Great Leader").
  • Liaquat Ali Khan, the first Prime Minister of independent Pakistan was named as Quaid-i-Millat ("Father of the Nation") and Shaheed-i-Millat ("Martyr of Nation").
  • Sukarno, the president of post-revolution Indonesia was known as the Pemimpin Besar Revolusi (Great Leader of the Revolution) and Bung Karno ("Comrade Karno").
  • François Duvalier, the president-dictator of Haiti, obtained from the pocket parliament "Supreme Leader of Revolution" amongst other titles.
  • Ferdinand Marcos, the president-dictator of the Philippines, sometimes named as "Leader of Nation".
  • Fidel Castro, the communist ex-president of Cuba was known as the Máximo Líder ("Greatest Leader").
  • Enver Hoxha, the communist president of Albania was named as "The Leader", "Supreme Comrade", "Sole Force", "Great Teacher".
  • Nicolae Ceaușescu, the communist leader of Romania from 1965 to 1989, also adopted the title Conducător.
  • Mobutu Sese Seko, the president-dictator of Zaire, sometimes named as "Father of People" and "Saver of Nation".
  • Alfredo Stroessner, the dictatorial president of Paraguay from 1954 to 1989, was eulogized as Gran Líder and Único Líder.
  • Abd al-Karim Qasim, Prime Minister of Iraq from 1958 to 1963, named as al-za‘īm ("The Leader").
  • Saddam Hussein, the president-dictator of Iraq from 1979 to 2003, named as "The Leader".
  • Muammar Gaddafi, the Brotherly Leader and Guide of the Revolution of Libya from 1979 to 2011.
  • Omar Torrijos, de facto dictator of Panama from 1968 to 1981, assumed the title Líder Máximo de la Revolución Panameña ("Supreme Leader of the Panamanian Revolution").
  • Nur Muhammad Taraki, the first president of pro-Soviet Afghanistan from 1978 to 1979 named as "The Great Leader", "The Star of the East" or "The Great Thinker".
  • The Supreme Leader of Iran, the highest-ranking political and religious authority in the constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran. The first person to hold this title was the Ayatollah Khomeini

Post-Cold War

  • Nursultan Nazarbayev, since 1991 the President of Kazakhstan, was granted the title Елбасы (translit. Elbasy - "Leader of the Nation") by a parliamentary decision in 2010.
  • Saparmurat Niyazov, president-for-life and dictator of Turkmenistan, gave himself the title Türkmenbaşy ("Leader of all Turkmens") and Serdar ("The Leader").
  • Kim Jong-Il is officially referred to by the North Korean government as 친애하는 지도자 (translit. ch'inaehanŭn chidoja - "Honorable Leader") and "The Leader" (his father Kim Il Sung after death stayed as "Great Leader").
  • Kim Jong-Un had a "Supreme Guide" after his father Kim Jong-Il died in 2011.
  • Nawaz Sharif, ex-prime minister of Pakistan, was made the Supreme Leader of his political party PML-N after the Pakistan Supreme Court ruled that as he was disqualified[2] under the constitution for dishonesty, he can no longer serve as the head of a political party.

In fiction


  1. ^ William C. Kirby (ed.), Realms of Freedom in Modern China, p. 121
  2. ^ Bhatti, Haseeb (2018-02-21). "Nawaz Sharif removed as PML-N head after SC rules disqualified person cannot lead a party". DAWN.COM. Retrieved 2018-03-01. 
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