The election of Lebanon's President Michel Aoun last week was hotly debated. This is not only because of his polarizing political past, but also because of his age. At 83 years old, he is the Lebanese republic's oldest president. 

But the region is no stranger to veteran heads of state. 

Here are the 5 oldest presidents of Arab republics, all born before World War 2:

1. Tunisian president Baji Caid Essebsi, 90 years old

Tunisian president ‎Beji Caid Essebsi
Source: Facebook

Essebsi was elected as president at a whopping 88 years old. Last year, The Guardian reported he was the world's third oldest head of state.

Born in 1926 under French colonialism, Essebsi became involved  in Tunisian politics as a young adult. In the 1960s -1980s, he served as an interior minister, minister of defense and foreign minister and in 2011, he was appointed as an interim prime minister. Essebsi didn't make it to the top job until 2014.

His term ends in 2019 unless legal or health emergencies call for his replacement. He is said to suffer from "old-age ailments", but no reliable information is available about his health condition.

2. Lebanese president Michel Aoun, 83 years old

Lebanese president Michel Aoun
Source: Facebook

Aoun's election last week ended a 29-month presidential vacuum. He returns to the Presidential palace in Baabda after a legally disputed tenure as both president in prime minister from 1988 to 1990 (the last two years of the country's civil war). 

Born in 1933 during the French mandate of Lebanon, the military academy graduate was appointed commander of the Lebanese army in 1984 where he served until 1991, when he was exiled to France. He is the founder of the second largest party in the Lebanese parliament, the Free Patriotic Movement. Aoun was elected to parliament in 2005. 

He is set to hold office until 2022. 

3. Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas, 81 years old

Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas
Source: Facebook

Abbas' four-year term ended in 2009, but he continues to lead the Palestinian Authority. Political disputes have stood in the way of legislative and presidential elections in the past six years. 

Abbas was born in 1935 under the British mandate, 13 years before 700,000+ Palestinians were dispossessed to make room for Israel's creation in 1948. He has been involved in Palestinian politics since the 1950s.

Rumors of Abbas' ill health have circulated in recent years, but recent medical tests appear to have put those rumors to rest. 

4. Algerian president Abdelaziz Bouteflika, 79 years old

Algerian president Abdelaziz Bouteflika
Source: Pinterest

Bouteflika was born in 1937 and has been president since 1999. He was elected for four consecutive terms. His health condition has been subject to scrutiny and criticism since 2005.

His fourth term in office, starting in 2014, came a year after he suffered a stroke. He did not campaign for the election and rarely appeared in public. Still, he won 82% of the vote, though this is disputed by his opponents.

Bouteflika's current term ends in 2019.

5- Iraqi president Fuad Masum, 78 years old

Iraqi president Fouad Masum
Source: Facebook

The former MP and speaker of the Iraqi parliament was elected for a four-year team in 2014.

Born in 1938, the veteran Iraqi-Kurdish politician first took part in the political scene after joining the Iraqi Communist Party in 1962.