Putin more powerful than Obama, says Forbes list

Russian President Vladimir Putin has come top of the Forbes world power list. Credit: Anthony Devlin/PA Archive/Press Association Images

Russian President Vladimir Putin has been voted the world's most powerful leader, pushing US counterpart Barack Obama to second place, according to Forbes magazine.

In third place is Xi Jinping, the general secretary of the Communist Party of China, while German Chancellor Angela Merkel comes third and UK Prime Minister David Cameron is some way behind in 11th.

US President Barack Obama has dropped to second in the Forbes poll. Credit: Dennis Van Tine/Geisler-Fotopres/DPA/Press Association Images

Women make up only 12 per cent of people on the 'most powerful' list. Among them are Brazilian leader Dilma Rousseff (no.20) and the de facto head of India, Sonia Ghandi (no. 21).

Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel is one of the relatively few female leaders in the ranking, who make up 12 per cent of the total. Credit: AA/ABACA/Press Association Images

Billionaires Warren Buffett (no. 13) and Michael Bloomberg (no. 29) warranted special mention because of their philanthropic work, said Forbes.

Newcomers to the list include Pope Francis (no. 4) and Samsung Chairman Lee Kun-Hee (no. 41).

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg is one of several billionaires who feature in the Forbes list. Credit: Dennis Van Tine/ABACA USA/Empics Entertainment

The list of global power-brokers is voted for by Forbes editors, who pick 72 leaders - one for every 100 million people on Earth - based on influence and wealth.