What is life?

Life is an adjective referring to something that lasts from the moment it is obtained until the end of life. It can be a charge, a membership or a rent, among other matters.

For example: “Augusto Pinochet sought impunity through his oath as a senator for life of Chile” , “My father is a life member of the club and can enter for free to watch the games” , “The president of the corporation has agreed to leave the management, but in return, he agreed to a lifetime lease.” The figure of the senator for life was created as a prerogative of the former presidents of a republic. This means that, after leaving office, they become senators without an election or deadline set for the end of their term. This charge, however, has been removed from most constitutions.

Some historical figures, on the other hand, have appealed for the office of president for life. This title was assumed by dictators who sought to eliminate any kind of time limit on their terms. Other similar positions were also created, such as consul for life (Napoleon Bonaparte). The first president who sought, with the return of his life title, that his authority would never be challenged, was Julius Caesar himself, at the time of the Roman Republic. It was the year 45 a. C. when the mythical dictator proclaimed himself perpetual. It is worth mentioning that, originally, this position could be held for a maximum period of half a year. Several centuries later, the leader of France Napoleon Bonaparte followed in his footsteps to become the first consul for life, specifically in 1802. From that moment on, many dictators imitated these initiatives; some made the decision to satisfy their lust for power, while others were appointed by their subjects, by legislators who did not contemplate the possibility of refusing the will of their superiors. It is worth mentioning that most leaders who became presidents for life did not end their terms together with their lives, as in some cases they were dethroned or assassinated. Some examples of happy endings were Josip Broz Tito, Francisco Franco, François Duvalier, Rafael Carrera y Turcios, José Gaspar Rodríguez de Francia and Saparmyrat Nyýazow. On the other hand, it is known that Mobutu Sese Seko failed in his attempt to perpetuate the post of President of the State of Zaire in the early 1970s. Other figures enjoyed very long terms, such as Fidel Castro and Kim Il-sung, presidents from Cuba and North Korea, respectively, and are often cited as lifetime exponents of the presidency. In Il-sung’s case, the influence he exerted over his people appears to be enormous: after his death, the government named him eternal president and removed the post of president from the North Korean constitution. Since there can be no successor, since Kim Il-sung will reign forever from the beyond, his powers were nominally and effectively divided between the presidents of the Supreme People’s Assembly, the Prime Minister, and the National Defense Commission.

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These political positions are developed with the aim of perpetuating the exercise of power and threatening the freedom of peoples. Most democracies include laws that require the alternation of rulers, to prevent a person or a social sector from perpetuating power and using the state apparatus for their own benefit. In everyday language, the adjective life is also used to name someone or something that seems to perpetuate itself in the same situation, even in a mocking tone or with little seriousness: “My son has failed again: I think he is already life student. “

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