Which World Leaders Will Be the First to Go?

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The clock is ticking for politicians aiming to shape the global future. Who will be the first to go?

U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May could lose office in a month, or limp over the Brexit finish line in March 2019. A lot of people have speculated about an early end to Donald Trump’s presidency, but history suggests his term is unlikely to be cut short by impeachment.

On the other end of the spectrum stands Russian President Vladimir Putin, who with an approval rating over 80 percent and total control of the political arena and national media, is sure to win another six-year term on Sunday. Then there is China’s Xi Jinping, who could remain in power through the next decade after the repeal of term limits for presidents.

These are some of the world leaders featured in a special dataviz project by Bloomberg that offers another way to rank global leaders: by just how firm a grip each politician has on their job.

After all, it’s difficult to be taken seriously at a gathering like the G-20 if the rest of the room knows your next ride in the bulletproof limousine could be your last.

Which World Leaders Will Be the First to Go?

Global Headlines

Red line | U.S. Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s reported subpoena of the Trump Organization in his investigation into possible Russian election meddling has sparked concern the president may try to oust him. A move against Mueller by Trump, who’s in the midst of a high-level staff shake-up — the White House denied National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster is next — could set off a crisis in Washington.

Power play | After his expected cruise to re-election, Putin will start his new term amid soaring tensions with the West after the U.S., France and Germany joined the U.K. in blaming Russia for a nerve-agent attack on a former spy. While the Kremlin denies involvement, Putin’s pondering retaliation for Britain’s expulsion of the largest number of Russian diplomats in 30 years. At the same time, U.S. officials say Russian hackers are attacking its “critical infrastructure'' including the electric grid and water plants.

Tax cut pressure | Incoming White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow is adding momentum to Trump’s drive to pressure Democrats to help pass a second phase of tax cuts to make them permanent. Raising the issue now lets Republicans dare Democrats to stand against middle-class tax relief before midterm Congressional elections in November.

Iran deal threatened | Trump’s decision to fire Rex Tillerson as Secretary of State has put the Iran nuclear agreement at risk and has thrown into confusion today’s meeting of the accord’s signatories in Vienna. With Tillerson’s nominated replacement, Mike Pompeo, a vocal critic of the accord, “the deal now hangs by a thread,” said Ali Vaez, the International Crisis Group’s director of Iran policy.

Border spat | The fight over preventing the re-emergence of a hard Irish border is threatening the U.K.’s hopes of a deal next week on a 21-month post-Brexit transition period. As Dara Doyle and Ian Wishart report, EU diplomats yesterday broadly backed the Dublin government’s stance that the bloc shouldn’t meet the U.K.'s transition request until May shows greater willingness to compromise over managing the frontier between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

And finally... India and Pakistan are literally ringing each other’s doorbells at night and then running away. In recent days, the two nuclear-armed neighbors have accused each other of harassing diplomats posted in their respective capitals. As Iain Marlow reports, the claims range from making obscene phone calls to cutting off power and water supplies. It’s a reflection of their often fraught ties. But at least it’s not nuclear war.

Which World Leaders Will Be the First to Go?

To contact the author of this story: Ben Sills in Madrid at bsills@bloomberg.net.

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