Merkel still No. 1 woman in Forbes

NEW YORK — German Chancellor Angela Merkel has maintained her position as the most powerful woman in the world, in a ranking published Wednesday by Forbes magazine.

Merkel has held the No. 1 position on the Forbes list of the 100 most powerful women in the world for the third year in a row. The 58-year-old chancellor has been a regular on the list since her first appearance in 2006, one year after she was elected chancellor. She has held the top spot each time except for 2010, when she was ranked fourth.

The magazine describes Merkel as “the backbone of the 27-member European Union,” adding that she “carries the fate of the euro on her shoulders.”

The magazine notes that her hard-line austerity prescription for easing the European debt crisis has been challenged by both hard-hit southern countries and the more affluent north, most particularly French President Francois Hollande.

She is followed on the list by Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff and philanthropist Melinda Gates.