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Forbes names most powerful people

Wednesday - 12/5/2012, 8:48pm  ET

AP: 64788906-0237-4ab6-ad8d-c3317809bb39
German Chancellor Angela Merkel was named the second most powerful person in the world by Forbes. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)

Megan Cloherty, wtop.com

WASHINGTON - Forbes has named the 71 most powerful people on the planet.

It's the magazine's annual look at the heads of state, philanthropists, financial tycoons and entrepreneurs who run the world.

The qualifications that land these people on the list are how many people they have power over, their assets compared to their peers, and the candidate's influence in multiple circles. Finally, the candidates had to actively use their power.

That final reason is why Secretary Hillary Clinton is not on this year's list as she plans to step down from her position.

Many of the top contenders like President Barack Obama, Apple CEO Tim Cook, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Pope Benedict XVI are returning to the list.

But some are newcomers. LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman, one of the world's most powerful venture capitalists, is new to the list. Elon Musk, the man behind PayPal and Tesla Motors, is also new to the list. His company SpaceX leads the industry in independent space flight.

Here's Forbes.com's Top 10 most powerful people:

  1. U.S. President Barack Obama
  2. German Chancellor Angela Merkel
  3. Russian President Vladimir Putin
  4. Microsoft's Bill Gates
  5. Pope Benedict XVI
  6. Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke
  7. Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz al Saud
  8. Mario Draghi, president of the European Central Bank
  9. Xi Jinping, general secretary of the Communist Party of China
  10. Prime Minister David Cameron

Read more about why specific leaders made the list on Forbes.com.

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(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)