Last world leader standing: The photo that shows just how much the world has changed in 2016

Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi has resigned following his defeat in the country’s referendum to reform the constitution 

Loulla-Mae Eleftheriou-Smith
Monday 05 December 2016 12:58 GMT
German Chancellor Angela Merkel greets leaders at the G5 summit in Hanover in April this year
German Chancellor Angela Merkel greets leaders at the G5 summit in Hanover in April this year

An image of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Francois Hollande, America’s outgoing President Barack Obama, Italy’s newly resigned Prime Minister Matteo Renzi and former British Prime Minister David Cameron speaks volumes about the turmoil seen in world politics over the course of this year.

The picture was taken in April this year at a G5 summit, but only one of these world leaders is still in a position of power and also seeking another term in office in the next year following a series of shocking events, from the UK voting to leave the European Union to Italy voting against constitutional reform, resulting in the resignation of two European prime ministers in the space of six months.

Mr Renzi announced his resignation on Monday following the crushing defeat in Italy’s referendum on constitutional reform in which nearly 60 per cent of people voted against his proposals. The result caused a sharp fall in the value of the Euro against the dollar, with the currency at one point dropping to $1.0507, the lowest level since March 2015. The result has implications for the country’s struggling banks and has raised questions over its membership of the EU.

Italian PM Matteo Renzi resigns after referendum defeat

Angela Merkel has announced that she will be standing for a fourth term as leader of the Christian Democratic Union party (CDU) in Germany’s election next year. People have been tweeting pictures of the leaders together to show the rapidity of change in the state of politics, with comments such as “Three pro-EU globalists down, one more pro-EU globalist to go,” and “four down, Merkel to go”.

David Cameron threw the Conservative party into turmoil when he resigned as Prime Minister the day after the UK voted to leave the European Union in June. He claimed that Britain needed “fresh leadership” and it would be wrong for him “to be the captain that steers our country to its next destination,” sparking a bloody battle between leaders of the Leave campaign in their bid to take over from Mr Cameron.

The shock election result in America will see President-elect Donald Trump taking the place of President Obama in future summit photographs, who, despite having no previous experience in an elected office, won the presidency last month. Mr Trump has already strained relations with China by being the first elected American leader to speak with the president of Taiwan since 1979, and in a recent phone call with Philippines president Rodrigo Duterte he reportedly wished the leader success in his war on drugs, which has seen more than 2,000 Philippine citizens killed.

As far-right leader Marine Le Pen gains ground in France, President Hollande, the least popular president in the country since the 1940s, has announced he will not be seeking re-election in 2017. He said he wanted to give the ruling Socialist party the opportunity to win “against conservatism and extremism,” and is the first sitting President since the Second World War not to run for re-election.

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