December 1997


Niger: President Ibrahim Baré Maïnassara names a government that includes Maman Sambo Sidikou as foreign minister, Souley Abdoulaye as interior minister, and Ide Niandou as finance minister.


Pakistan: President Farooq Ahmed Leghari resigns. Wasim Sajjad becomes acting president. On December 31 Mohammad Rafiq Tarar is elected new president, with 374 votes in the 476-member electoral college. Aftab Shahban Mirani comes second with 58 votes.
Romania: Daniel Daianu is named finance minister in a cabinet reshuffle. He takes office December 5.
United States: Former Massachusetts governor (1963-65) Endicott Peabody dies.
Zambia: Keli Walubita becomes foreign minister, Chitalu Sampa defense minister, and Peter Machungwa interior minister.


Nepal: In a cabinet reshuffle, Phatte Singh Tharu becomes defense minister and Khum Bahadur Khadka home minister.


Cameroon: Augustin Kontchou Kouomegni becomes foreign minister and Amadou Ali defense minister.
Comoros: President Mohamed Taki appoints Nourdine Bourhane prime minister. Ibrahim Ali Mzimba becomes foreign minister.
Yugoslavia: In the third round of presidential elections in Serbia, the new Socialist Party candidate, federal foreign minister Milan Milutinovic, receives about 41% of the vote and Vojislav Seselj of the Radical Party about 33%. Vuk Draskovic of the Serbian Renewal Movement trails with about 16%. Turnout is about 58%. A runoff between Milutinovic and Seselj is held on December 21. Milutinovic wins 58.6% and Seselj 38.1%. Turnout is just above the 50% required to make the vote valid. Milutinovic is sworn in December 29.


New Zealand: Jenny Shipley is sworn in as prime minister. Max Bradford becomes defense minister.


Chile: In parliamentary elections, the centre-left Coalition for Democracy receives 50.6% of the vote while the right-wing Union for Chile gets 36.2%. Communists and other smaller parties capture the rest. Turnout is 87%, but 17.7% of the votes are invalid.
Mexico: Former foreign minister (1979-82) Jorge Castañeda y Álvarez dies.
Namibia: Erkki Nghimtina becomes defense minister in a cabinet reshuffle.
Venezuela: Finance Minister Luis Raúl Matos Azócar resigns.


Aruba: In parliamentary elections, Prime Minister Henny Eman's Aruban People's Party wins 10 seats (43.5% of the vote), Nelson Oduber's People's Electoral Movement 9 (38.8%), and the Aruban Liberal Organization of Glenbert Croes 2 (8.9%). Turnout is 85.7%.
Mauritania: Incumbent Maaouya Ould Sid'Ahmed Taya of the Democratic and Social Republican Party wins presidential elections with about 90% of the vote. Turnout is 72%. On December 18 a new cabinet is formed with Mohamed Lemine Ould Guig as prime minister, Mohamed El Hacen Ould Lebatt as foreign minister, Kaba Ould Elewa as defense minister, and Col. Ahmed Ould Minnih as interior minister; Kamara Aly Gueladio remains finance minister.


Niger: Former foreign minister (1985-88, 1989-91) Mahamane Sani Bako dies.


The Netherlands: Former queen's commissioner of Noord-Brabant (1959-73) Constant Kortmann dies.
Russia: Semyon Zubakin is elected president of the republic of Altay.


Guyana: Presidential and parliamentary elections are won by Prime Minister Janet Jagan and her People's Progressive Party (55.3% of the vote; 29 seats), defeating former president Desmond Hoyte's People's National Congress (40.6%; 22 seats). Jagan is sworn in as president on December 19, replacing Sam Hinds, who is sworn in as prime minister on December 22.
Papua New Guinea: Prime Minister Bill Skate appoints himself defense minister, Roy Yaki foreign minister, and Dibara Yagabo finance minister.


India: W. Nipamacha Singh is sworn in as chief minister of Manipur.
Nicaragua: Former acting president (1936) Guillermo Sevilla Sacasa dies.
Somalia: The president of the self-declared Republic of Somaliland, Muhammad Haji Ibrahim Egal, offers his resignation, but this is rejected by Parliament on December 18.


Czech Republic: Josef Tosovský is sworn in as prime minister. On December 30 he names a cabinet. Foreign Minister Jaroslav Sedivý and Finance Minister Ivan Pilip are retained, while Michal Lobkowicz becomes defense minister and Cyril Svoboda interior minister.
Italy: Former president of Valle d'Aosta (1954-59) Vittorino Bondaz dies.


Jamaica: Parliamentary elections are won by the People's National Party of Prime Minister P.J. Patterson with 55.7% of the vote (50 of 60 seats) as opposed to 38.6% (10 seats) for Edward Seaga's Jamaica Labour Party and 4.8% for the National Democratic Movement. Turnout is 65.2%.
South Korea: Kim Dae Jung of the National Congress for New Politics wins presidential elections with 40.3% of the vote, ahead of former prime minister (1993-94) Lee Hoi Chang of the Grand National Party (formerly New Korea Party) with 38.7%, and Rhee In Je with 19.2%. Turnout is 80.6%.


Djibouti: In parliamentary elections, the Rassemblement Populaire pour le Progrès wins 54 seats and the Front pour la Restauration de l'Unité et de la Démocratie 11. A new cabinet is appointed on December 28, with Yacin Elmi Bouh as finance minister and Elmi Obsieh Waiss as interior minister.


Myanmar: In a cabinet reshuffle, Khin Maung Tha replaces Win Tin as finance minister.


Laos: Parliamentary election. The ruling Lao People's Revolutionary Party wins 98 of 99 seats; one independent is elected. Turnout is nearly 100%.
Lithuania: In presidential elections, Arturas Paulauskas leads with 45.3% of the vote, followed by Valdas Adamkus with 27.9% and former president Vytautas Landsbergis with 15.9%. Turnout is 71.5%. Paulauskas and Adamkus will meet in a runoff on Jan. 4, 1998.


Germany: Former first secretary of the Socialist Unity Party of Gera (1952-55) and Suhl (1956-68) Otto Funke dies.


Haiti: The Chamber of Deputies rejects President René Préval's nominee for prime minister, Hervé Denis.

Romania: Foreign Minister Adrian Severin resigns. He is succeeded by Andrei Plesu on December 29.


Vietnam: The Communist Party elects Le Kha Phieu as its new general secretary. He takes over from Do Muoi on December 29.


Russia: Nikolay Fyodorov is reelected president of Chuvashiya with 56.6% of the vote, compared to 35% for Valentin Shurchanov. Turnout is 60.1%.


Bosnia and Herzegovina: Ejup Ganic takes office as president of the Muslim-Croat federation.
Kenya: Incumbent Daniel arap Moi of the Kenya African National Union (KANU) wins presidential elections, with 40.1% of the vote, ahead of Mwai Kibaki (Democratic Party) with 31.1%, Raila Odinga (National Development Party) with 10.9%, Michael Kijana Wamalwa (Forum for the Restoration of Democracy-Kenya) with 8.3%, and Charity Ngilu (Social Democratic Party) with 7.7%. In the parliamentary elections KANU wins 109 out of 209 seats, the DP 39, the NDP 21, FORD-K 17, SDP 14.
Libya: Muhammad Ahmad al-Mangoush is appointed general secretary of the General People's Committee (premier).