May 1997


India: Palaniappan Chidambaram returns to the position of finance minister.


United Kingdom: The Labour Party led by Tony Blair wins a landslide victory in general elections. Labour wins 419 seats (43.1% of votes), Conservatives 165 (30.6%), Liberal Democrats 46 (16.7%), Ulster Unionists 10 (0.8%), Scottish National Party 6 (2%), Plaid Cymru 4 (0.5%), Social Democrat and Labour Party 3 (0.6%), Sinn Féin 2 (0.4%), Democratic Unionists 2 (0.3%), U.K. Unionists 1, independent 1. Turnout is 71%. Blair takes office as prime minister May 2. He appoints John Prescott as deputy prime minister, Robin Cook as foreign secretary, George Robertson as defense secretary, Jack Straw as home secretary, and Gordon Brown as chancellor of the exchequer.


Malaysia: Abu Hassan Omar is named chief minister of Selangor.


Sri Lanka: Former prime minister (1959-60) Wijayananda Dahanayake dies.


Estonia: Robert Lepikson takes office as interior minister.


Germany: Kai-Uwe von Hassel, former minister-president of Schleswig-Holstein (1954-63) and West German defense minister (1963-66), dies.

Federated States of Micronesia: Vice President Jacob Nena officially becomes president. He already exercised the presidential duties since November 1996; President Bailey Olter had been incapacitated by a stroke in July. On May 14 the new vice president, Leo A. Falcam, is inaugurated.
Taiwan: Interior Minister Lin Feng-cheng resigns. On May 14 Yeh Ching-feng is named to succeed him.


Latvia: Defense Minister Andrejs Krastins resigns. On May 12 Justice Minister Dzintars Rasnacs becomes acting defense minister.


Burkina Faso: In a parliamentary election, the ruling Congress for Democracy and Progress party wins 101 out of the 111 seats in the National Assembly. The Party for Democracy and Progress wins 6 seats, the Alliance for Democracy and Federation and the African Democratic Rally win 2 each. Turnout is 44%.
Mali: In presidential elections boycotted by most of the opposition, incumbent Alpha Oumar Konaré is reelected with 95.9% of valid votes, followed by Mamadou Maribatrou Diaby of the Unity, Development and Progress Party with 4.1%. Turnout is 28%.
Mauritania: President Maaouya Ould Sid'Ahmed Taya sacks his foreign minister, Ahmed Sidi Ould Khalifa, and replaces him with Abdallahi Ould Nem.


Yemen: Prime Minister Abdul Aziz Abdul Ghani resigns. On May 14 President Ali Abdullah Saleh names Faraj Said Bin Ghanem as new prime minister.


Malaysia: Malacca Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Zin Abdul Ghani dies. Datuk Abu Zahar Isnin is sworn in as chief minister on May 23.


Comoros: Prime Minister Ahmed Abdou wins a parliamentary confidence vote 38-2.


Chad: Prime Minister Djimasta Koibla resigns. On May 17 President Idriss Déby names Nassour Guelendouksia Ouaido as prime minister. On May 21 Mahamat Saleh Annadif becomes foreign minister and Youssouf Togoimi interior minister.

Zaire: President Mobutu Sese Seko gives up power. The defense minister, Gen. Mahele Lieko Bokungu, is assassinated. On May 17 rebel leader Laurent Kabila proclaims himself president. He renames the country Democratic Republic of the Congo. On May 23 he announces cabinet members including Bizima Karaha as foreign minister, Mawampanga Mwana Nanga as finance minister, and Mwenze Kongolo as interior minister.


Cameroon: In a parliamentary election, President Paul Biya's Cameroon People's Democratic Movement wins 109 out of 180 seats, the Social Democratic Front 43, the National Union for Democracy and Progress 13, and the Cameroon Democratic Union 5.


Indonesia: Former foreign minister (1953-55) Sunario dies.
Mongolia: In presidential elections, Natsagiyn Bagabandi of the Mongolian People's Revolutionary Party wins with 60.8% of the votes over incumbent Punsalmaagiyn Ochirbat (Democratic Union Coalition) with 29.8% and Jambyn Gombojav (Mongolian Traditional United Party) with 6.6%. Turnout is 85%.


Armenia: Armen Darbinyan replaces Levon Barkhudaryan as finance minister.




Colombia: Former president (1986-90) Virgilio Barco Vargas dies.
Vanuatu: Vital Soksok becomes foreign minister and Willie Jimmy finance minister.


Bulgaria: Parliament elects Ivan Kostov prime minister. The new cabinet includes Nadezhda Mihailova as foreign minister and Muravey Radev as finance minister. Interior Minister Bogomil Bonev and Defense Minister Georgi Ananiev retain their posts.



Russia: President Boris Yeltsin dismisses Defense Minister Igor Rodionov. He is replaced the following day by Igor Sergeyev.


Iran: Mohammad Khatami is elected president, with about 69% of the vote, followed by Parliament Speaker Ali Akbar Nateq-Nouri (25%), Mohammad Mohammadi Reyshahri, and Syed Reza Zavarei. Turnout is nearly 90%.


Saint Lucia: The Saint Lucia Labour Party wins parliamentary elections, taking 16 out of 17 seats (61.3% of the vote), the ruling United Workers Party (36.6%) being reduced to 1 seat. Turnout is about 70%. On May 24 SLP leader Kenny Anthony is sworn in as prime minister. He also takes over the finance portfolio, while George Odlum becomes foreign minister.


Czech Republic: Finance Minister Ivan Kocárník resigns.
Iraq: Former foreign minister (1946-48, 1949, 1952, 1954, 1958) and prime minister (1953-54) Muhammad Fadhel al-Jamali dies.


France: The left opposition (Socialist Party, 23.8%; Communist Party, 9.8%; Greens, 6.8%; other left parties, 6.5%) wins the first round of parliamentary elections over the ruling right-wing coalition (Rally for the Republic, 15.1%; Union for French Democracy, 15%; other right parties, 6.6%). The National Front wins 15% and others 1.4%. Turnout is 68.7%. On May 26 Prime Minister Alain Juppé announces he will resign regardless of the outcome of the second round.
Sierra Leone: President Ahmad Tejan Kabbah is toppled in a military coup. The new Armed Forces Revolutionary Council is led by Maj. Johnny Paul Koroma.


Slovakia: Foreign Minister Pavol Hamzík resigns.


Colombia: Interior Minister Horacio Serpa Uribe resigns. He is succeeded by Carlos Holmes Trujillo.
Macedonia: In a government reshuffle, Foreign Minister Ljubomir Frckoski is replaced by Defense Minister Blagoj Handziski, who in turn is succeeded by Lazar Kitanovski. The new cabinet is approved by the parliament on May 29.


Indonesia: In parliamentary elections, the ruling Golkar party wins about 74% of the vote (325 of 425 elected seats), the United Development Party about 23% (89 seats), and the Indonesian Democratic Party about 3% (11 seats). Turnout is estimated at 90%.