Austria's Kurz would join growing lineup of young leaders

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Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz.

Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz. (Photo: AP)

Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz is set to become Europe's youngest leader after his right-wing party won a general election Sunday. Kurz turned 31 in August.

Several politicians have reached the peak of power in Europe in recent years, but youth hasn't been an obstacle to leadership elsewhere, either. Among world leaders who took office when they were under 40:

— Emmanuel Macron, France

Macron is France's youngest-ever president. He came to power in May at age 39 after his upstart centrist movement appealed to voters tired of a stagnant establishment and trounced traditional parties in the election.

— Leo Varadkar, Ireland

Ireland's new Taoiseach, or prime minister, assumed office in June at age 38. Varadkar, the son of an Indian immigrant, held three previous Cabinet posts. He is Ireland's first openly gay head of government.

— Matteo Renzi, Italy

Renzi became Italy's prime minister in 2014 when he was 39. He resigned as premier in December after voters resoundingly rejected government-backed constitutional reforms. He remains head of Italy's Democratic Party.

— Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson, Iceland

In Iceland, Gunnlaugsson became prime minister at 38 in 2013. He resigned in 2016 after details of his offshore financial holdings were revealed in the Panama Papers leak.

— Kim Jong Un, North Korea

The North Korean leader is quite possibly the world's youngest ruler. But, like so much about his country, his age remains something of a mystery. He is thought to be 32 or 33. Kim, the third generation in North Korea's ruling dynasty, assumed power in December 2011 upon the death of his father, Kim Jong Il.

— Fidel Castro, Cuba

The Cuban revolutionary leader, who died last year, was 32 when his rebel forces took control of Cuba. He ruled Cuba for nearly five decades as one of the world's last communist leaders.

— Moammar Gadhafi, Libya

The late Libyan leader was 27 when he seized power in 1969. The dictator held on to power until he was ousted in 2011. Gadhafi was captured and killed a few months later.

— Daniel Ortega, Nicaragua

Ortega was 33 when he became a leader of the junta that ran Nicaragua after the Sandinista revolution ousted dictator Anastasio Somoza in July 1979. In November 1984, just before his 39th birthday, Ortega was elected president. He was voted out in 1990 and then won re-election in 2006, 2011 and 2016.

— Gamal Abdel Nasser, Egypt

Nasser was 38 when he became president of Egypt in 1956. He nationalized the Suez Canal and championed the pan-Arab cause. Nasser was one of the world's most prominent anti-imperialist figures by the time of he died in 1970.

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