May 1999


Switzerland: Joseph Deiss takes office as foreign minister.


Panama: Mireya Moscoso wins presidential elections with about 44% of the vote, ahead of Martín Torrijos with about 38%. Turnout is about 75%. Moscoso will take office in September.



Lithuania: President Valdas Adamkus names Irena Degutiene acting prime minister, following the resignation of Gediminas Vagnorius. She takes office May 4. On May 10 Adamkus nominates Vilnius mayor Rolandas Paksas as prime minister, and Parliament approves him on May 18.


Cayman Islands: Peter Smith becomes governor.


Comoros: Col. Azali Assoumani, who seized power in a coup on April 30, is sworn in as head of state and forms a new government. Souef Mohamed El-Amine becomes foreign minister.

United Kingdom: In elections to the new Scottish parliament, Labour wins 56 of 129 seats, against 35 for the Scottish National Party, 18 for the Conservatives, and 17 for the Liberal Democrats. Turnout is 59%. In Wales, Labour wins 28 of 60 seats, followed by Plaid Cymru with 17, the Conservatives with 9, and the Liberal Democrats with 6. Turnout is 46%. On May 12 Alun Michael is elected first secretary by the Welsh parliament. On May 13 the Scottish parliament elects Donald Dewar first minister; he is sworn in May 17.




Guinea-Bissau: President João Bernardo Vieira is overthrown, and all powers are assumed by the Supreme Command of the Military Junta, led by Ansumane Mané. The National Assembly speaker, Malam Bacai Sanhá, is installed as acting president on May 14.


Djibouti: Ismail Omar Guelleh is sworn in as president. In the cabinet formed on May 12, Ali Abdi Farah is foreign minister and Ougoureh Kifleh Ahmed defense minister.
Iceland: In parliamentary elections, Prime Minister Davíd Oddsson's Independence Party wins 40.7% of the vote (27 of 64 seats), the left-wing Alliance 26.8% (17), the Progressive Party 18.4% (12), the Left-Green Alliance 9.1% (6), and the Liberal Party 4.2% (2).


Brazil: Former Rio de Janeiro governor (1963-64) Badger Teixeira da Silveira dies.

New Caledonia: In parliamentary elections, the Rally for Caledonia in the Republic wins 24 of 54 seats and the Kanak Socialist National Liberation Front 18. On May 28 Jean Lèques becomes president of the government.


Australia: Former New South Wales premier (1976) Sir Eric Archibald Willis dies.


Federated States of Micronesia: Leo A. Falcam is elected president and Redley Killion vice president.


Falkland Islands: Donald Lamont takes office as governor.
Moldova: Boris Gamurari is appointed defense minister.
Russia: President Boris Yeltsin dismisses Prime Minister Yevgeny Primakov and appoints Interior Minister Sergey Stepashin as acting prime minister. The Duma confirms Stepashin on May 19 (301-55). Yeltsin appoints Vladimir Rushailo as interior minister on May 21 and Mikhail Kasyanov as finance minister on May 25.
United States: Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin resigns. He is to be replaced by Lawrence Summers in July.



Italy: Carlo Azeglio Ciampi is elected president with 707 of 990 votes. President Oscar Luigi Scalfaro, whose term would have run until May 28, resigns on May 15 and Senate Speaker Nicola Mancino becomes acting president until Ciampi takes office May 18.



Fiji: In parliamentary elections held May 8-15, the Labour Party wins 37 of 71 seats, followed by the Fijian Association with 11. On May 19 Mahendra Chaudhry is sworn in as prime minister. Tupeni Baba becomes foreign minister.
Slovakia: In the first round of presidential elections, the government's candidate Rudolf Schuster wins 47.4% of the vote and former prime minister Vladimír Meciar 37.2%. Turnout is 73.9%. A runoff held on May 29 is won by Schuster with 57.2%, compared to 42.8% for Meciar.


Russia: Vladimir Semyonov wins the presidential runoff election in the Karachay-Cherkess republic with about 75% of the vote, against about 20% for Cherkessk mayor Stanislav Derev.


British Virgin Islands: In parliamentary elections, the British Virgin Islands Party wins 7 of 13 seats, the National Democratic Party 5, and the Concerned Citizens Movement 1. Turnout is 65%.
Israel: Ehud Barak of the Labour Party wins elections for prime minister with 55.9% of the vote, against 43.9% for incumbent Benjamin Netanyahu of Likud. In the parliamentary election, the One Israel alliance (Labour, Gesher, Meimad) wins 20.2% of the vote and 26 of 120 seats, Likud 14.1% (19), Shas 13% (17), and Meretz 7.6% (10).
Nepal: In parliamentary elections held May 3 and 17, the Congress Party wins 107 of the 205 seats. On May 27 Khrishna Prasad Bhattarai is named prime minister; he is sworn in May 31. He also takes over the foreign affairs, defense, and home affairs portfolios, while Mahesh Acharya becomes finance minister.
Solomon Islands: John Lapli is elected governor-general, polling 25 votes in parliament while incumbent Sir Moses Pitakaka receives 2.


Turkey: Former foreign minister (1979-80) Hayrettin Erkmen dies.


The Netherlands: The government of Prime Minister Wim Kok resigns.


Albania: Spartak Poçi is appointed interior minister, replacing Petro Koçi.
Latvia: Prime Minister Vilis Kristopans' minority government survives a confidence vote (60-24 with 14 abstentions).
Romania: Parliament rejects (248-147) a motion of no confidence in Prime Minister Radu Vasile's government.


Mexico: Diódoro Carrasco Altamirano is named interior minister on the resignation of Francisco Labastida Ochoa.
Togo: President Gnassingbé Eyadéma names Eugene Koffi Adoboli as prime minister.


Germany: Alfred Kubel, former minister-president of Braunschweig (1946) and of Niedersachsen (1970-76), dies.


Germany: Johannes Rau is elected president by the 1,338-member Federal Assembly. Having received 657 votes in the first round, against 588 for Dagmar Schipanski and 69 for Uta Ranke-Heinemann, Rau wins a majority in the second round, with 690 votes compared to 572 for Schipanski and 62 for Ranke-Heinemann. He will take office July 1.


Ecuador: Benjamín Ortiz Brennan is sworn in as foreign minister, replacing José Ayala Lasso who resigned earlier in the month.
South Korea: Kang Bong Kyun is appointed finance minister, replacing Lee Kyu Sung. Cho Sung Tae replaces Cheon Yong Taek as defense minister.
Spain: Ramon Rubial Cavia, former president of the General Council of País Vasco (1978-79), dies.
Turkmenistan: Batyr Sarjayev is appointed defense minister.


France: A parliamentary censure motion on Prime Minister Lionel Jospin's government falls 37 votes short of the required 289-vote majority.
Venezuela: Ignacio Arcaya becomes interior minister.


Colombia: Defense Minister Rodrigo Lloreda resigns. He is replaced on May 29 by Luis Fernando Ramírez Acuña.


Australia: Former New South Wales governor (1981-89) Sir James Rowland dies.


Cuba: President Fidel Castro names Felipe Pérez Roque as foreign minister.
Portugal: Defense Minister José Veiga Simão resigns. Foreign Minister Jaime Gama takes over the post on May 29.
Turkey: Prime Minister Bülent Ecevit presents a new cabinet. Sabahattin Çakmakoglu becomes defense minister, Sümer Oral finance minister, and Sadettin Tantan interior minister.


Nigeria: Olusegun Obasanjo takes office as president.


Armenia: In parliamentary elections, the Miasnutyun (Unity) alliance wins 41.2% of the vote and 55 of 131 seats, followed by the Communist Party with 12.1% and 11 seats.