This is an installment in the World Watch series, "The world's enduring dictators," inspired by events in Tunisia and Egypt, in which takes a look at the men who continue to rule their lands unimpeded by law.
See a complete explanation of the series and a list of others profiled Hassanal Bolkiah, Brunei Length of rule: 44 years.
Outlook for change: As mentioned, Brunei's 400,000 citizens benefit from generous public assistance like free medical care and schooling, and it is regularly ranked as one of the most developed countries in Asia.
Although tiny Brunei was a British protectorate until 1984, Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah became absolute ruler of his country in 1967, meaning he has been monarch and head of government there ever since.
In 2006, he changed Brunei's constitution, declaring himself infallible. Brunei has productive oil and gas fields, and it is an open secret that much of the profit from them flows through the pockets of the Sultan and his family.
Constitution and the Rule of Law: Constitutional sultanate (locally known as Malay Islamic Monarchy); Everyday law based on Indian penal code and on English common law; for Muslims, Islamic sharia law supersedes civil law concerning Muslim marriages and inheritance.
Economic Indicators: Overall GDP is .88 billion (world rank is 126); Per capita GDP is ,300 (world rank is 9); unemployment rate of 3.7 percent (world rank is 32).