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Merkel tops Obama on Forbes 'most powerful' list

Angela Merkel has been ranked as the second most powerful person in the world according to Forbes magazine. Vladimir Putin came in first, leaving a US president in third place for the first time in the list's history.

Russia's President Vladimir Putin was named the "World's Most Powerful Person" by Forbes magazine on Wednesday, with German Chancellor Angela Merkel taking the number two spot on the list.

For the first time in the list's history, Barack Obama became the first sitting US president to fall out of the top two rankings, sliding down to third place, instead.

"As Obama enters the final year of his presidency, it's clear his influence is shrinking, and it's a bigger struggle than ever to get things done," said Forbes. "At home, his approval ratings are perpetually stuck under 50 percent; abroad, he's outshined by Merkel in Europe, and outmaneuvered by Putin in the Middle East."

Putin beat out Merkel and Obama

for the third year in a row.

The announcement comes just weeks after Russia's decision to conduct

air strikes in Syria

and amidst soaring approval ratings in his home country. "Putin continues to prove he's one of the few men in the world powerful enough to do what he wants - and get away with it," Forbes stated.

United States President Barack Obama, right, and Russia's President President Vladimir Putin pose for members of the media before a bilateral meeting

While Obama struggles with low approval at home, Putin's scores soared to 87 percent in August

Merkel, on the other hand, jumped up from last year's fifth place ranking to grab the runner-up spot.

"Merkel is the backbone of the 28-member European Union, and her decisive actions

dealing with the Syrian refugee problem

and the Greek credit crisis helped bump her up the list," wrote Forbes, who

also ranked her as the "World's Most Powerful Woman"

for 2015, as well.

Pope Francis came out in fourth place, with Chinese President Xi Jingping rounding out the top five.

The magazine's seventh annual list features 73 of the world's powerful political and financial leaders who are ranked according to the candidates' social impact, areas of influence, and financial resources.

Only nine out of the 73 selected world figures were women.

Eight newcomers in the rankings included Saudi Arabia's King Salman (number 14), and US presidential candidates Hillary Clinton (number 58) and Donald Trump (number 72). 31-year-old Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and North Korea's 32-year-old leader Kim Jong-un were the youngest on the list.

rs/rc (AFP, dpa)

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