Get Family Dictatorship essential facts below. View Videos or join the Family Dictatorship discussion. Add Family Dictatorship to your PopFlock.com topic list for future reference or share this resource on social media.
A hereditary dictatorship, or family dictatorship, in political science terms a personalistic regime, is a form of dictatorship that occurs in a nominally or formally republican or socialist regime, but operates in practice like an absolute monarchy or despotate, in that political power passes within the dictator's family. Thus, although the key leader is often called president or prime minister rather than a king or emperor, power is transmitted between members of the same family due to the overwhelming authority of the leader. Sometimes the leader has been declared president for life and uses this power to nominate one of his or her family as successor.
A family dictatorship is different from a monarchy (where the descent is required by general constitutional law), or a political family (where members of the family possess informal, rather than formal and overwhelming political authority).
A family dictatorship is different from an absolute monarchy, and the ruler does not usually base his or her authority on the concept of divine right. In the latter, the transition of power within a family is required by general law as part of the state's constitutional arrangement, and continues to apply to all successions in the regime. In the former, this arrangement is not required by general law. In some cases, a special law might be enacted to formally nominate one particular family member of the present leader as the successor. In other cases, the law of the state may even formally provide for elections, but control exerted by the leader on the political and electoral process ensures a hereditary succession. Furthermore, whether each succession succeeds depends on the level of authority and control of the leader. As a result, modern family dictatorships often transition into a non-familial (non-personalistic) regime after a small number of successions: usually just one, and rarely more than two.
A family dictatorship is also different from other political families. In the latter, informal power and influence accrued to the family enables the family to continue to hold political power, often through open and contested elections. In the former, the family uses either formal legal or political power or control to ensure a familial succession, and usually via a controlled or uncontested election, or no election at all.
Because a family dictatorship exerts significant control on its succession, a successor is often determined well in advance. However, because it often lacks a formal general law basis for the succession, there are often long periods of uncertainty as to the identity of the successor. As often happens in other types of totalitarian regimes which plan their own succession, after a successor is determined or short-listed, they often go through a significant period of "grooming", in which the successor gains the experiences and qualifications aimed to make him or her attain the authority necessary to lead the regime.
Successful transitions of power
Kim Jong-Un, supreme leader of North Korea and member of the three-generation Kim dynasty is a prominent example of family dictatorship.
Roman Empire: The early dynasties of the Roman Empire operated similarly to a family dictatorship. Augustus (27 BCE-14 CE) kept up the facade of a republic during his reign but designated his own successor, Tiberius, by adopting Tiberius and convincing the Senate to transfer his powers to Tiberius (14 CE-37 CE) upon his death. For three hundred years, subsequent emperors customarily designated their successor by adoption. From the reign of Diocletian (284-305) onwards, emperors ruled in an openly monarchic style.
Dominican Republic: Rafael Trujillo (de facto 1930-1961, with brother Héctor serving as figurehead president 1952-1960), nominally succeeded by his son Ramfis Trujillo for a few months in 1961; Ramfis failed to fully consolidate his power over the country and was overthrown.
North Korea: Kim Il-sung (1948-1994), succeeded by his son Kim Jong-il (1994-2011), succeeded by his son Kim Jong-un (2011-present). Kim Jong-il did not officially take office until 1997, when his father was posthumously given the position of Eternal President. On 2 June 2009, it was reported that Kim Jong-il's youngest son, Kim Jong-un, was to be North Korea's next leader. Like his father and grandfather, he was given an official sobriquet, The Great Successor and The Brilliant Comrade. It was reported that Kim Jong-il was expected to officially designate the son as his successor in 2012, but Kim Jong-il died in 2011 and Kim Jong-un was nevertheless announced as his successor. The 2013 edition of the "Ten Fundamental Principles of the Korean Workers' Party" - Article 10, Clause 2 - states that the Party and Revolution must be carried "eternally" by the "Baekdu (Kim's) bloodline". See also Kim Dynasty.
Iraq: Saddam Hussein (de facto 1979-2003) designated his elder son Uday Hussein to succeed him as dictator, then changed the succession to his younger son Qusay Hussein after Uday suffered a severe injury in 1996. The U.S. invasion of Iraq and the death of both his sons, followed by Saddam's trial and subsequent execution made a successor irrelevant. See also Saddam's family.
Venezuela: It was speculated that Adán Chávez, the brother of then-leader Hugo Chávez (President, 1999-2013) was going to succeed Chávez as president, but this never happened. There was also speculation that one of Hugo Chávez's daughters, Maria Gabriela or Rosa Virginia, would succeed him.
Belarus: It is rumored that PresidentAlexander Lukashenko has been preparing to have his young son Nikolai succeed him. Observers have noted how Lukashenko often brings his son on official engagements. On some occasions Nikolai is given a chair with the other heads of state, in sharp contrast with, for instance, the children of the then-President of Uzbekistan Islam Karimov also present in the conference room.
Tajikistan: On 3 April 2017, Rustam Emomali, the son of PresidentEmomali Rahmon, was elected to the city legislature of the capital and largest city, Dushanbe. This made Rahmon's earlier appointment of Rustam Emomali as Mayor of Dushanbe legal. President Rahmon has other "close relatives" in "high official positions" in Tajikistan. For example, Ozoda Rahmon, one of President Rahmon's daughters, is both her father's chief of the presidential staff and a member of the National Assembly, the upper house of the Tajik parliament.
Uganda: Critics believe long-time president Yoweri Museveni has been preparing his son Muhoozi Kainerugaba to succeed him. The President's son was commander of Uganda's military elite Special Forces Group until January 2017 when the President appointed him Senior Adviser to the President for Special Operations, plus since 1998 Muhoozi has gone from the rank of Major to Lieutenant General in quick succession. All of this is leading the succession rumours to swell even more.
Venezuela: There is a rumor that Nicolás Maduro Guerra, the son of Venezuelan leader Nicolás Maduro, is being prepared to succeed his father as Maduro Guerra was named in 2017 as the director of a newly created position, the Director General of Delegations and Presidential Instructions of the Vice President; the creation of which is believed to establish a line of succession.