World's highest paid politicians(Michel Euler.Pool.AP Photo)

U.S. President Barack Obama, front left, shares a word with French President Nicolas Sarkozy, front right, at the G8 summit in L'Aquila, Italy. Other leaders from left, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Japanese Prime Minister Taro Aso, Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi and Sweden's Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt.

As you might imagine, the release of Barack Obama's tax return by the White House last month caused quite a stir. Everyone knew the U.S. President earned the base Commander in Chief salary last year, but perhaps few were keen to Obama's potency as an author: according to his filings, the most powerful man in the world earned a total income of $5,505,409 in 2009, thanks in large part to proceeds from Obama's two best-selling books, The Audacity of Hope and Dreams from My Father.

Yet, this time of year, it's that base salary everyone is concerned with. As Canadians, tax season is the slot on the calendar when it's most appropriate to gripe over how much Prime Minister Stephen Harper earns. Where do the incomes of Harper and Obama rank on the world scale, you ask? Perks, stipends and expenses aside, MSN presents the 10 highest-paid politicians in the world, based on their taxpayer-funded salaries.

*All figures in USD.

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