You wouldn't think it could get much worse for those living in the world's worst dictatorships. But, sadly, it just might. FP takes a look at the next generation of tyrants and finds that sometimes the devil you know really is better than the one you don't.
Current Ruler: Gen. Than Shwe
Heir Apparent: Gen. Maung Aye, army chief and vice–chairman of the State Peace and Development Council
Better or Worse: Worse. While on a drinking binge last year, Aye allegedly shot his personal assistant for leaking negative stories about him to the press. Unsurprising, then, he has a reputation for ruthlessness. Worrisome for his opponents, he is an expert in psychological warfare — a skill that his mentor Shwe uses to consolidate his grip on power.
Odds: Good. Aye’s main rival, Prime Minister Gen. Khin Nyunt, was "retired" last fall. Khin Nyunt and hundreds of his supporters haven’t been heard from in months.
Current Ruler: Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo
Heir Apparent: "Teodorin" Nguema Obiang Mangue, the president’s eldest son
Better or Worse: The same, but flashier. Whereas his father is rumored to have consumed his enemies — literally — his playboy son favors his rap label, his California mansion, and his Lamborghinis to his new post as minister for agriculture and forestry in the oil–rich West African country. There are even rumors that he has dated the American rapper Eve.
Odds: Dicey. In the race to succeed his father, who is believed to be suffering from prostate cancer, Teodorin frequently quarrels with his power–hungry uncles.
Current Ruler: Col. Muammar el–Qaddafi
Heir Apparent: Seif el–Islam el–Qaddafi, Muammar el–Qaddafi’s son
Better or Worse: Probably better. Qaddafi studied global governance at the London School of Economics and was tapped by his father to announce that Libya would dismantle its nuclear weapons program. He is widely seen as a reformer who wants to democratize the country.
Odds: Good, but he’s modest. Seif recently told an interviewer that the "country’s political system should not be based on loyalty or lineage." Not that it will stop him from taking over.
Current Ruler: Kim Jong Il
Heir Apparent: Kim Jong Chol, Kim Jong Il’s middle son
Better or Worse: Sportier. The 24–year–old, who studied in Switzerland, relaxes from his training in propaganda by shooting hoops. He enjoys basketball so much that he had his father build courts at their villa. But he has also allegedly had a palace shootout (the kind with bullets) with his illegitimate uncle.
Odds: Best bet. His mother has recently been the subject of a glorification campaign similar to the one given to Kim Jong Il’s mother before his succession. Still, since she died last year, she’s no longer around to fight for her son. According to the family’s former sushi chef, his father still considers him to be "too much like a girl."
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