There are many political families exercising absolute dominance in countries across the world. Some of them rule like dictators while others rule by democracy. A political family is unlike any other family. By a layman’s standards, a political family has several of its members actively engaged in politics. Members may be blood relations or relations out of marriage. In all cases, a political family enjoys a clout which is unparalleled. In countries like India, political families are common since the people of the country believe in dynastical politics. There are other nations where the people are forced to accept a family as the dispenser of the country’s destiny. Here is a list of the top 10 political families in the world.
10. Bismarck Family:
The “House of Bismarck” is a German family that rose to prominence with the 19th century statesman Otto von Bismarck. The family had roots in the Altmark region. They descended from Herebord von Bismarck who was the holder of the name Bismarck. His descent from the small town of Bismark has not been ascertained yet. A relative of his named Nikolaus von Bismarck was a councilor and a loyal supporter of Louis I. Many of Otto von’s descendants held notable political positions including his son Herbert.
9. Nehru-Gandhi Family:
The Nehru-Gandhi family is one of the most famous political families in the world and a powerful one in India. They have been associated with the Indian National Congress since the pre-independence era, with Motilal Nehru constituting the first generation. Members of the family have led the Congress Party and the Republic of India. The first prime minister of India after independence in 1947 was Jawaharlal Nehru. The Nehru-Gandhi family often is analogically compared with the tragic glamour of America’s Kennedy clan. Rahul Gandhi, the general-secretary of the Congress Party, is the fifth generation.
8. Castro Family:
Fidel Castro and his family have ruled Cuba for more than half a century. According to a report on Cuba dated March 2011, the Cuban authorities are continuing to stifle freedom of expression and hundreds of pro-democracy activists have suffered harassment as the Cuban government is employing new tactics to boot out dissent. The Castros have often been labeled as a “dictator family”. Fidel became president in 1976 and years after power succession, he continued with his approach as a revolutionary leader. His brother Raul assumed his position in 2008 and gave the Cubans some relief in matters on which Fidel had a strict view. Raul’s son Alejandro is rumoured to be the brothers’ likely successor.
7. Springs and Spring-Rices Family:
One of the oldest political families in the world comes in a land which is as democratic democracy could mean yet steeped in a tradition of monarchy. Although the Springs family never ruled England, they have a say in the British Parliament since the middle of the 16th century. Sir William Spring of Lavenham was the first known politician from the family when he was High Sherriff of Suffolk and then the MP from the area in 1570. After a long list of successions, the family recently had Richard Spring as a Conservative party MP from West Suffolk until as early as 2010.
6. Hussein Family:
One of Iraq’s ruling political families was the Hussein family, brought to prominence by Saddam Hussein at the centre of affairs and his hostilities towards his fellow countrymen. Hussein’s son, Uday ran the Iraqi Football Association. Uday Hussein was Saddam’s favourite son who was raised to be the successor but eventually fell out due to erratic behavior on his part. Saddam’s second son Qusay Hussein was second in command of the military after his father.
5. Hatoyama Family:
Hatoyama is a Japanese political family which has often been likened to the Kennedy family of the United States. Yukio Hatoyama is a Tokyo born former prime minister of Japan and is a fourth generation politician. He is a descendant of Kazuo Hatoyama who was a speaker of the House of Representatives in the Japanese Parliament from 1896 to 1897 during the Meiji era. His paternal grandfather, Ichiro Hatoyama was also a major politician who served as Prime Minister. He was also the founder and the first President of the Liberal Democratic Party in 1956. Hatoyama is the son of Iichiro Hatoyama, a former Japanese foreign minister.
4. Arslan Family:
The Arslan dynasty is one of the most powerful political families in Lebanon. The current leader is Emir Talal Arslan who has been reigning over Lebanon since 1989. Emir Talal is the son of Emir Majid Arslan who held a pivotal role in Lebanese independence and also served as the minister of defence for a period spanning 30 years. In fact the genealogy of the Arslan family dates back to the 7th century when they ruled Beirut.
3. Bhutto-Zardari Family:
The Bhutto clan has been dominant in the Pakistan Peoples’ Party for most of Pakistan’s history since independence. They hail from a Rajput tribe settled in Sindh. The Bhutto family has seen active participation in politics with Shah Nawaz Bhutto being the founder of the Sindh Peoples’ Party. His son Zulfikar Ali Bhutto became the youngest member of Pakistan’s delegation to the United Nations in 1957. He also served as the Prime Minister of Pakistan and assumed office on 14th August 1973. Zulfikar’s daughter Benazir Bhutto also held office for a term of three years. She was later assassinated in 2007 after she returned home from exile. Benazir married Asif Ali Zardari who is the current and 11th President of Pakistan.
2. Kim Family:
Kim Jong-il was the leader of North Korea from 1994 to 2011. He was successor to his father Kim Il-Sung who served as the founder of the Democratic Republic of North Korea. Following Jong’s death in December 2011, his son Kim Jong-un rose to power. With only three leaders for at least the last 60 years, North Korea has earned the dubious notoriety of being one of the world’s worst dictator-led countries.
1. Kennedy Family:
The most famous political family in the world has to be that of the Kennedy’s. In the United States the Kennedy family was commonly referred to as the family descending from the marriage of Joseph P. Kennedy, Sr and Rose Elizabeth Fitzgerald. The Kennedys’ political involvement was with the Democratic Party. Their status often catapulted them to being known as “America’s Royal Family.” Following the 1960 election of John F. Kennedy as president, he and his two younger siblings, Robert F. Kennedy and Edward M. Kennedy held prominent positions in the federal government and were on the receiving end of publicity. The occurrence of numerous tragedies has been rife for this family, with the assassinations of brothers John and Robert, the controversial Chappaquiddick incident and Rosemary’s failed lobotomy.
(img source: pbs.org)