CNN's international correspondents give their assessments on which world leaders are up and which are down at the end of 2017, and what might be in store next year.
France's Emmanuel Macron -- UP
2017 was the year that made Macron. At its start, he was a former economy minister making an unlikely presidential bid. But the improbable collapse of France's two mainstream parties -- which had shared power in France for 60 years -- paved his way to victory.
The stars aligned themselves in Macron's favor on the international stage, too. Political turmoil in London, Washington and Berlin, coupled with his own ambitious vision, led Macron to be spoken of as not simply the French President, but as the new leader 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 repair her relationship with US President Donald Trump and then tackle German elections amid a surge in right-wing populism. Despite Trump's apparent refusal to shake her hand at their first meeting, 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 working coalition up and running as soon as possible to meet the challenges of 2018.
By Atika Shubert
Syria's Bashar al-Assad -- UP