The world's longest ruling national leaders may make you thankful for term limits

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The results of the 2016 election have elicited strong reactions from Americans who fall on either sides of the political aisle. Whether you were disappointed or elated, one of the beautiful things about America is that we have term limits. Michelle Obama recently told Vogue that eight years 'is enough.'

"It's important to have one foot in reality when you have access to this kind of power," the first lady affirmed.

But for some, eight years in office can feel like abiding by a leader you may not always agree with.

While it is difficult to define a dictatorship due to dubious 'democratic' voting systems, many of current longest ruling non-royal heads of states coincided with the least free countries in the world.

Freedom House released its 2016 Freedom in the World report, and of the world's 25 long-ruling leaders, 21 of their countries fell into the 'not free' category. Only Zimbabwe, Samoa, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and Turkey fell into the 'free' or 'partially free' categories.

Although the 'African Strongman' comes to mind when discussing long-term political leaders (Cameroon's President Paul Biya has been in power since 1982), it is certainly not a continent-specific issue. Europe, the Caribbean and Africa all have leaders in office over 13 years as well.

It is also worth noting that the long ruling national leaders are not necessarily the country's most powerful. For example, Kim Yong-nam has been the nominal president of North Korea, but Kim Jong-un is the supreme leader and chairman.

So, if you are already looking ahead to 2020 for a change in government, then at least consider yourself lucky that our nation's leader can't stay in power for 41 years.

Click below to see the longest ruling non-royal national leaders:

26 PHOTOS
World's longest ruling heads of state
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World's longest ruling heads of state

25. Turkey: President Recep Tayyip Erdogan 

In power since 2003

Photo: Reuters

24. Saint Vincent and the Grenadines: Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves 

In power since 2001

Photo: Reuters

23. Democratic Republic of Congo: President Joseph Kabila 

In power since 2001

Photo: Reuters

22. Syria: President Bashar al-Assad 

In power since 2000

Photo: AP

21. Russia: President Vladimir Putin

In power since 1999

Photo: AP

20. Djibouti: President Ismail Omar Guelleh 

In power since 1999

Photo: AP

19. Algeria: President Abdelaziz Bouteflika 

In power since 1999

Photo: Getty

18. Samoa: Prime Minister Tuilaepa Aiono Sailele Malielegaoi 

In power since 1998

Photo: Getty

17. North Korea: Nominal head of state, Kim Yong-Nam 

In power since 1998

Photo: Getty

16. Republic of the Congo: President Denis Sassou Nguesso 

In power since 1997

Photo: Getty

15. The Gambia: President Al Hadji Yahya Jammeh 

In power since 1994

Photo: Getty

14. Belarus: President Alexander Lukashenko 

In power since 1994

Photo: Getty

13. Rwanda: President Paul Kagame 

In power since 1994

Photo: AP

12. Tajikistan: President Emomali Rahmon 

In power since 1992

Photo: Reuters

11. Eritrea: President Isaias Afwerki 

In power since 1991

Photo: Reuters 

10. Chad: President Idriss Deby 

In power since 1990

Photo: Reuters

9. Sudan: President Omar al-Bashir 

In power since 1989

Photo: AP

8. Uganda: President Yoweri Museveni 

In power since 1986

Photo: Getty

7. Cambodia: Prime Minister Hun Sen 

In power since 1985

Photo: Reuters

6. The Republic of Kazakhstan: President Nursultan Nazarbayev 

In power since 1984

Photo: Getty

5. Iran: Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei 

In power since 1981

Photo: Getty

4. Zimbabwe: President Robert Mugabe 

In power since 1980

Photo: Getty

3. Angola: President Jose Eduardo Dos Santos 

In power since 1979

Photo: Getty

2. Equatorial Guinea: Presidential Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo

In power since 1979

Photo: Getty

1. Cameroon: Paul Biya

In power since 1975

Photo: Getty

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