Year 2012 In Review: Saviors Of World Economy, Guardians Of Peace And Troublemakers - Leaders Who Matter

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  • Barack Obama
    President Obama said if congressional leaders cannot agree before March 1 to avert the defense sequester then should pass a stopgap measure that will give them time.
  • Shinzo Abe
    Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe
  • Angela Merkel
    German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who has led the nation since 2005, was overwhelmingly re-elected her party’s leader in December as she kicked off her bid for a third term. One of the greatest challenges of 2012 — saving the euro as a common currency in the European Union — proved to be a testing ground for her negotiating skills, as she faced strong protests from Greeks and other hard-hit southern countries who blamed Germany and the affluent north for forcing painful austerity measures on them.
  • Xi Jinping
    Xi Jinping, the new leader of the Communist Party of China who is destined to lead the world’s most populous country for the next decade, was chosen by the party leadership in November. His rise to power will be complete in March 2013, when he will replace Hu Jintao as president and head of state.
  • Mohamed Morsi
    Mohamed Morsi, the first democratically elected president of Egypt from Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party (FPJ), took in June with a promise that he will be a president to all Egyptians including the minorities. However, the president and his Islamist backers faced strong protests from the liberal, secular opposition after he assumed sweeping powers and called for a public referendum for a controversial draft constitution, which the opposition said did not represent the aspirations of minorities. The constitution has been approved since and Morsi looks forward to holding parliamentary elections in 2013.
  • Aung San Suu Kyi
    After spending almost two decades in one or the other form of detention for her efforts to bring democracy to the military-ruled Myanmar, Nobel winning activist Aung San Suu Kyi stood for parliament in a by-election in April. She and her fellow candidates from National League for Democracy (NLD) won a landslide victory and were sworn into parliament, as the country moved a step closer to democracy.
  • Ahmadinejad
    Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has fallen out of favor with the clerical elite in Iran.
  • Vladimir Putin
    Among the flurry of decrees Vladimir Putin issued after returning to the presidency for a historic third term in May, were calls for faster privatization and government-sponsored boost in capital investment and closer ties with the US, based on equality, non-interference in internal affairs and respect for one another's interests. Putin, who completed two successful presidential terms prior to becoming the prime minister during the presidential term of Dmitry Medvedev, was sworn in while riot police in Moscow were suppressing protests against his third term after a controversial election victory.
  • Benjamin Netanyahu
    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu dominated headlines for his strained ties with U.S. President Barack Obama after he backed Obama’s Republican rival Mitt Romney in the presidential elections. The hawkish leader spent the second half of 2012 shouting battle cries targeting Iran, and then chose to bomb several Palestinian targets, even as Palestine won non-Member Observer State status in the U.N.
  • Kim Jong-un
    North Korean leader Kim Jon-un
  • Bashar al-Assad
    President Bashar al-Assad.
  • Hugo Chavez
    – President Hugo Chavez's terminal illness hijacked Venezuelan presidential election campaign, which would have otherwise been its best chance to reassess his 13-year-long governance and revolutionary brand of socialism. Despite the anti-incumbency wave his young opponent Henrique Capriles Radonski couldn’t overcome the Chavismo. The 58-year-old socialist leader, who won re-election Oct. 7, underwent his fourth cancer operation Dec. 11 in Cuba but suffered a respiratory infection. He is currently recuperating while his government officials are pushing to postpone his inauguration slated to be held Jan. 10, 2013.
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