India: Ashok Gehlot becomes chief minister of Rajasthan.
Syria: In parliamentary elections held November 30 and December 1, all 167 candidates of the ruling National Progressive Front coalition are elected (135 seats are reserved for the Ba`th Party and 32 for allied parties). The remaining 83 seats in the 250-member People's Assembly go to independents. Turnout is 82.2%.
Lebanon: President Émile Lahoud appoints Salim Hoss as prime minister. In the new cabinet, Hoss is also foreign minister, Ghazi Zeaiter is defense minister, Michel Murr interior minister, and George Kurum finance minister. Parliament gives the new government a vote of confidence on December 17.
Turkey: President Süleyman Demirel nominates Bülent Ecevit to form a government. On December 21 Ecevit gives up, and on December 23 Demirel asks Yalim Erez to try for the premiership.
Guinea-Bissau: President Joăo Bernardo Vieira names Francisco Fadul prime minister.
India: Zoramthanga is sworn in as chief minister of Mizoram and Sheila Dikshit as chief minister of Delhi.
Belarus: Ural Latypov is appointed foreign minister.
India: Jaswant Singh is sworn in as foreign minister, a portfolio previously held by Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
Taiwan: In parliamentary elections, the Nationalist Party wins 123 of 225 seats, the Democratic Progressive Party 70, and the New Party 11.
Cyprus: In parliamentary elections in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, Prime Minister Dervis Eroglu's National Unity Party wins 40.3% of the vote (24 of 50 seats), the Democrat Party 22.6% (13), the Communal Liberation Party 15.4% (7), and the Republican Turkish Party 13.4% (6). Turnout is over 87%.
Gabon: In presidential elections, incumbent Omar Bongo wins 66.9% of the vote, against 16.5% for Pierre Mamboundou of the Union of the Gabonese People and 13.2% for Libreville mayor Paul M'ba Abessole of the National Woodcutters Rally. Turnout is just under 54%.
Venezuela: Hugo Chávez wins presidential elections with 56.2% of the vote, compared to 40% for Henrique Salas Römer and 2.8% for Irene Sáez.
Mongolia: Parliament approves Janlavyn Narantsatsralt as prime minister. Nyam-Osoryn Tuyaa becomes foreign minister.
Canada: James L. Antoine is elected premier of the Northwest Territories.
Germany: The former minister-president of Bayern (1988-93), Max Streibl, dies.
United States: Florida Governor Lawton Chiles dies. The next day Lieutenant Governor Buddy MacKay is sworn in as governor.
Central African Republic: The second round of parliamentary elections is held. The final result gives the opposition alliance 55 of the 109 seats, compared to 47 for President Ange-Félix Patassé's Movement for the Liberation of the Central African People and 2 for the Liberal Democrat Party (allied with Patassé's movement).
Algeria: Prime Minister Ahmed Ouyahia resigns. On December 15 President Liamine Zéroual appoints Smail Hamdani as prime minister. In his cabinet presented on December 19, Abdelmalek Sellal replaces Mustapha Benmansour as interior minister.
Guinea: President Lansana Conté of the Party of Unity and Progress is reelected with 54.1% of the vote, defeating Mamadou Ba of the Union for Progress and Renewal (24.6%) and Alpha Condé (16.9%). Turnout is over 70%.
Israel: Finance Minister Yaakov Neeman resigns (effective December 18). Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu assumes the portfolio himself.
Romania: Prime Minister Radu Vasile's government survives a parliamentary confidence vote (283-163).
Tanzania: Former governor (1958-61) and governor-general (1961-62) of Tanganyika Sir Richard Gordon Turnbull dies.
Sierra Leone: Former head of government (1992-93) Solomon Anthony James Musa dies.
Brazil: President Fernando Henrique Cardoso names a new cabinet for his second term beginning Jan. 1, 1999. Élcio Álvares is named as defense minister. Foreign Minister Luiz Felipe Palmeira Lampreia and Finance Minister Pedro Malan retain their posts.
Kyrgyzstan: President Askar Akayev dismisses the government of Kubanychbek Jumaliyev and names Boris Silayev as acting prime minister. On December 25 Parliament elects Jumabek Ibraimov as prime minister. On December 30 Ibraimov names his cabinet, including Marat Sultanov as finance minister.
Germany: Former East Berlin mayor (1967-74) Herbert Fechner dies.
United States: Nancy Hollister becomes governor of Ohio, to complete the term of George Voinovich, who was elected to the U.S. Senate.