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World's 10 Most Powerful People

9. Sonia Gandhi

Age: 63
Title: President
Residence: New Delhi
Country of citizenship: India

Despite Italian birth, foreign religion (Roman Catholic) and political reluctance, Gandhi wields unequaled influence over 1.2 billion Indians. Recently elected to record fourth term as head of India's ruling Congress Party, cementing status as true heiress to the Nehru-Gandhi political dynasty. Handpicked brainy Sikh economist Manmohan Singh (also a listee) as prime minister. Inspired choice: Singh universally praised as India's best prime minister since Nehru, ideally trained to lead the world's fourth-largest economy in terms of purchasing power into next decade. But Gandhi remains the real power behind the nuclear-tipped throne. Grooming 40-year-old son Rahul for prime minister role.

(RAVEENDRAN/AFP/Getty Images)

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