Australia isn’t the only country with a ridiculous number of prime ministers in the last five years

Tough day
Tough day
Image: Reuters/Edgar Su
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It’s safe to say Tony Abbott is having a bad week. He’s joins an embarrassing list of Australian prime ministers deposed before serving their full term.  For those not keeping count, Australia will now have five prime ministers in the last five years. 

The latest ousting has been widely mocked by Australians on social media. Some pointed out that the last time an Australian prime minister served to full term (which is three years), the iPhone wasn’t invented. That was John Howard, who started his full term in 2004—and yes, the first generation of iPhones were released in 2007.

Australia’s quick turnover of heads of government is somewhat disconcerting, and the BBC has dubbed Canberra “the coup capital of the democratic world,” but the country is by no means unique. Here’s a number of other countries who’ve run through prime ministers at a rapid pace in recent years.


Since 2010, Italy has had four prime ministers: Silvio Berlusconi, Mario Monti, Enrico Letta, and Matteo Renzi.  Sex scandals, unpopular legislations and failure to form strong coalitions were among the number of reasons why Italian prime ministers resigned.


In the last five years, just like Australia, Finland has gone through five prime ministers: Matti Vanhanen, Mari Kiviniemi, Jyrki Katainen, Alexander Stubb, and Juha Sipilä. Breakdowns in coalitions and poor elections results drove several of these Finnish prime ministers to quietly step down from their post.


Greece was hit particularly hard by the global financial crisis in of 2008. Several prime ministers stepped up to help improve the country’s economic outcome, and failed badly. Including interim prime ministers, Greece has had six heads of government since 2010: George A. Papandreou, Lucas Papademos, Panagiotis Pikrammenos, Antonis Samaras, Alexis Tsipras, and Vassiliki Thanou-Christophilou. This number could jump to seven on Sunday (Sept 20) as Greece is having another general election.

South Korea

South Korea has shuffled through seven prime ministers in the last five years: Chung Un-chan, Yoon Jeung-hyun, Kim Hwang-sik, Chung Hong-won, Lee Wan-koo, Choi Kyoung-hwan, and Hwang Kyo-ahn. Bitter opposition from rival parties, a ferry disaster that killed hundreds and allegations of bribery were just some of the reasons these leaders were ousted.