( CNN ) It has been a turbulent time for many presidents across the globe, and although some benefited from 2017 ‘s geopolitical twists and becomes, others suffered a series of setbacks.

France’s Emmanuel Macron — UP

2017 was the year that built Macron. At its start, he was a former economy minister making an unlikely presidential bid. But the improbable breakdown of France’s two mainstream parties — which had shared power in France for 60 years — paved his style to victory .

The suns aligned themselves in Macron’s favor on the international arena, too. Political disarray in London, Washington and Berlin, coupled with his own ambitious eyesight, contributed Macron to be spoken of as not simply the French President, but as the new president of the free world. The year ahead looks as though it could be more promising still .

By Melissa Bell

Germany’s Angela Merkel — DOWN

It’s been a tough year for Merkel, who first had to fixing her relationship with US President Donald Trump and then tackle German elections amid increases in right-wing populism. Despite Trump’s apparent refusal to shake her hand at their first session, Merkel has crafted a good working relationship with him.
After that success, Merkel turned her attention to getting re-elected and seemed to be coasting to a September victory. But her party lost more than a million votes to the far-right Alternative for Germany. Merkel remains Chancellor, but she needs to get a operating alliance up and running as soon as possible to meet the challenges of 2018.
By Atika Shubert

Syria’s Bashar al-Assad — UP

In 2017, Assad consolidated his hold on Syria’s territory, built the best use of the war against ISIS to expand his clutch and weathered a brief but symbolic US air assault. He not only remains in power, but seems more likely than ever to stay there until he picks. The post-ISIS disarray of Iran’s face-off with Saudi Arabia has reduced the importance of Assad and his alleged war crimes in the region .

He’ll have to navigate the threat of Israeli military interventions into Syria to mitigate Iran’s presence, but Russia’s continued backing and his opponents’ collapse signify his territorial clutch is simply going to increase .

By Nick Paton Walsh

Myanmar’s Aung San Suu Kyi — DOWN

This year recognized a fall from grace for Aung San Suu Kyi. The president of Myanmar’s elected government moved from being hailed as a democratic hope for southeast Asia to being denounced as an apologist for what the United Commonwealth and the US call ethnic cleansing.
In mid-September, after more than 400,000 Rohingya Muslims fled across Myanmar’s border to Bangladesh, the Nobel Peace Prize laureate gave a speech on the crisis during which she said “we want to find out why this exodus is happening.” The refugee exodus had now been swelled to more than 600,000. But despite the crisis, Suu Kyi continues to enjoy fervent domestic supporting .

By Ivan Watson

Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan — UP

Erdogan always wanted to turn Turkey’s government into a strong presidential system and 2017 delivered, as he won sweeping changes to the constitution in a referendum. After 14 years in agency, he remains a singularly polarizing figure, jailing journalists and supervising a massive purge of civil servants. But he has attained maneuvers that guarantee Turkey a seat at the table in regional crises.
In 2018, Erdogan will have to contend with a dishonesty scandal at home and regional uncertainty abroad. But with a weak opponent, Erdogan will continue to chart the course of Turkey’s modern history .

By Gul Tuysuz

Russia’s Vladimir Putin — UP

Putin remains extremely popular at home and is poised to win re-election as Russian president in March 2018.
But he has faced a stagnating economy and a humiliating Olympic ban over state-sponsored doping of Russian athletes .

2017 likewise insured Putin’s hopes dashed of a better relationship with the US under Trump and, amid allegations regarding election meddling, US sanctions on Russia have intensified .

But it’s in the Middle East that Putin has scored a great victory on the international stage, propping up his ally in Syria, Assad, procuring a Russian military existence in the region and bolstering his country’s status as a power broker.
By Matthew Chance

China’s Xi Jinping — UP

2017 was a very good year for Xi. He wrapped up his first word as chairman of the Communist Party in historic manner — by having his “thought” inscribed into the party constitution, something simply Mao Zedong had ever attained. Xi has consolidated power in a way not considered to be in decades. China’s GDP is poised to keep develop and the country’s ascending to world superpower is all but assured .

But there were challenges: A dangerous security situation in North Korea, an unpredictable Trump straining trade ties, and a slowing economy are Xi’s top concerns. How well 2018 “il be going” depends first and foremost on North Korea.
By Matt Rivers

North Korea’s Kim Jong Un — UP

On January 1, Kim Jong Un declared North Korea was in the final stages of developing an intercontinental ballistic missile. The next day, President-elect Trump tweeted Pyongyang would never possess such a weapon. Eleven months, 16 rocket tests and one nuclear exam subsequently, Kim eluded Trump with the successful launch of North Korea’s most advanced ICBM ever.
If 2017 was a battle of wills, with Trump and Kim hurling insults and menaces at each other, the 30 -something dictator came out on top — for now. Kim’s momentum is uncertain in 2018, with growing conflict anxieties and unprecedented sanctions taking effect .

By Will Ripley

Britain’s Theresa May — DOWN

After calling a snap election, May lost her party’s double-digit majority. The outcome forced her to do a deal with the socially conservative Democratic Unionist Party of Northern Ireland to remain in power. The move attracted criticism and added complications to the issue of the Irish margin in Brexit discussions .

May has faced plots to supplant her and was rocked by a serious parliamentary sexuality scandal. She has since lost three cabinet ministers, including close ally Damien Green, who admitted to lying over the presence of pornography on a computer in his parliamentary agency.
However, her achievement in securing a move to the second phase of the Brexit negotiations should not be overlooked, though she faces another grueling time as the next phase of negotiations gets underway and rumors of leadership challenges continue to swirl .

By Bianca Nobilo

Saudi Arabia’s Mohammed Bin Salman — UP

Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman has run from being third in line to the throne to second, and faces limited challenges to his power .

At home he’s scoring big points with the young, letting wives drive, opening cinemas, restriction powers of religious authorities, lifting restrictive controls and raising horizons and possibilities .

Internationally, he’s become the go-to Arab interlocutor for Trump and other world leader. His 2030 eyesight for revamping the Saudi economy is widely praised overseas .

But the next 12 months is likely to be testing. His corruption crackdown is raising the issue of his rule, the Yemen war is outlining global criticism and fail reforms could lead to resentment .

By Nic Robertson

Iran’s Hassan Rouhani — UP

Rouhani’s year has been successful but has also considered new, potentially difficult challenges. Rouhani is journeying high in Iranian public opinion because of the nuclear arrangement brokered with the P5 +1 countries. The agreement has boosted Iran’s economy, and helped Rouhani win the 2017 presidential elections .

Rouhani’s main problems are Trump and Iranian hardliners. Trump has decertified the nuclear agreement, putting the whole deal in jeopardy. His tough stance on Iran, in turn, has fueled criticism of Rouhani by domestic hardliners who accuse him of being soft on America. 2018 could be a tough year if Trump continues to endanger the nuclear bargain .

By Frederik Pleitgen

Israel’s Benjamin Netanyahu — UP

Though he was named a suspect in two criminal investigations — and many in his inner circle are being questioned in a third probe — 2017 can only be described as a good year for Netanyahu. More important than anything else, Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital gave Netanyahu an unparalleled diplomatic and political succes. If the UN Security Council resolution announced today that Israel’s villages had “no legal validity” marred 2016, Trump’s announcement made up for it this year .

But 2018 could be different. The investigations aren’t going away, crisis within Netanyahu’s coalition are becoming regular events and many analysts determine elections on the horizon .

By Oren Liebermann

Spain’s Mariano Rajoy — DOWN

2017 is probably a year that Rajoy would like to forget. His country faced the most difficult constitutional crisis since the end of General Francisco Franco’s dictatorship, as Catalonia pushed ahead with its quest for independence — with a referendum that Madrid held unconstitutional .

The crisis spiraled as Rajoy suspended the region’s sovereignty and imposed direct rule — a move that many argue could have been avoided had he either dismissed the referendum ensue, as Madrid had done before, or acknowledged the crisis in Catalonia years earlier .

He suffered a further setback in December with pro-independence parties declaring victory in regional elections in Catalonia.
By Isa Soares

Japan’s Shinzo Abe — UP

Shinzo Abe wrote the playbook in 2017 for scoring political points from world uncertainty. He was the first world leader to ingratiate himself with the unpredictable US President, lavishing Trump with praise, hamburgers and even a gold-plated golf club. Trump and Abe are on first-name words, speaking and satisfying regularly.
Abe leveraged domestic North Korea fears after two missiles winged over Japan to win a landslide supermajority for his ruling party, despite embarrassing scandals and controversial plans to rewrite Japan’s pacifist constitution. He enters 2018 with positive momentum, including Japan’s best economic growth streak in nearly two decades .

By Will Ripley

Kenya’s Uhuru Kenyatta — DOWN

Despite his election victory, 2017 has been an “annus horribilis” for Kenyatta. Courts set aside an August vote after adversary Raila Odinga complained about the conduct of the electoral committee. And then Odinga and his supporters boycotted an October rerun, ensuring Kenyatta’s mandate was seen as questionable .

Kenyatta swears to be “a president for all” — but the atmosphere is fraught after an election that threatened to split open Kenya’s underlying ethnic tensions. Kenyatta must find a way to unite the country in 2018. Also at the top of his agenda is likely to be how to rein in Kenya’s trigger-happy police. Then he must decide whether to talk to his opponents.
By Farai Sevenzo

Canada’s Justin Trudeau — UP

In 2017 Trudeau did a lot of screaming. He teared up as he apologized to Canada’s LGBTQ community, when apologizing to Canada’s indigenous groups and again when he eulogized Canadian musical icon Gord Downie of the Tragically Hip .

Yet his year of contrition is nothing to shout about. Canada’s economy is likely to grow by 3% in 2017, there’s a new child tax credit for needy families and recreational marijuana will be legalized .

Trudeau might want to save his tears for 2018, when he will have to convince Donald Trump to “Make the North American Free Trade Agreement great again, ” and no one is wager on that .

By Paula Newton

Venezuela’s Nicolas Maduro — DOWN

Venezuelans will remember 2017 as a year of anti-government complains that occurred almost daily for months, killing more than 120 objectors in confrontations with the government .

Protests erupted in April after the Supreme Court took over legislative powers are members of the National Assembly. Maduro’s proposal to convene a new assembly to rewrite the constitution simply made affairs worse. The US slapped sanctions on Maduro in late July, a period after elections held in shape a constitutional assembly that Washington called “illegitimate.”
The next year promises to be a challenge, with Maduro attempting to defeat what he called the “the financial blockade” imposed by US sanctions .

By Rafael Romo

Australia’s Malcolm Turnbull — UP

Turnbull attained headlines over his strained phone conversation with Trump earlier this year, which the newly minted US President described as the worst he’d had in a day of congratulatory calls. Another big minute was a “yes” vote on same-sex marriage.
Domestically, 2017 was mixed, highlighted by the wedlock referendum and by Turnbull ultimately facing down his nemesis and former boss, ex-Prime Minister Tony Abbott. Turnbull’s legislative agenda has been grinding ahead, although it’s been a struggle, and he remains reasonably popular .

2018 will be about the economy. Australia’s growth outlook remains weak and Turnbull will be judged on his ability to keep the economy motoring through its 27 th year without a recession .

By Andrew Stevens

Mexico’s Enrique Pena Nieto — DOWN

“What would you have done? ” Pena Nieto asked in January after approving an increase in gasoline costs, sparking violent complains in one of several crises the Mexican President was forced to confront in 2017.
Increasing disagreements over a proposed wall on the US border forced him to cancel a meeting with Trump that month. In September, amid differences with Washington over NAFTA, Pena Nieto swore to defend Mexico’s “national dignity.” His approval ratings continued to plunge, falling to 28% by mid-September, in agreement with the Pew Research Center .

But Pena Nieto had no time to reflect on his unpopularity. On September 19, a 7.1 -magnitude earthquake struck central Mexico, killing 369 people in the capital and surrounding nations .

By Rafael Romo

New Zealand’s Jacinda Arden — UP

Jacinda Arden became the world’s youngest female president in late October at age 37, when she was elected to head up a bloc government even though her left-wing party finished second in the poll. “Jacindamania” swept her to the leadership, but now the hard work begins .

One of Arden’s greatest challenges in 2018 will be attaining the alliance forces job. She has to meld both governments of her liberal Labour party with the hard-right, populist New Zealand First party and the Greens. It won’t is very easy but at least the economy is unlikely to be a headwind. It’s are anticipated to chug along at around 3% growing for the next few years .

By Andrew Stevens

South Africa’s Jacob Zuma — DOWN

South African President Jacob Zuma’s face said it all .

As applauds erupted, he sat tight-lipped and grim as the new leader of his party, the African National Congress, was announced.
Zuma is known as the Teflon president, for his ability to survive scandal, but as the clock operates down on 2017 he is at his most vulnerable yet .

Zuma faces multiple allegations regarding corrupt practices and in Cyril Ramaphosa — the new chairman of the ANC — he faces a critic of that dishonesty .

A high court ruled that Zuma can’t stop a commission of inquiry into even more allegations regarding corruption. Earlier this year Zuma narrowly avoided a recorded vote of no confidence. Will he live again or will he be forced out before his word ends in 2019 ?

By David McKenzie

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