December 2004


Israel: Prime Minister Ariel Sharon fires the ministers of the Shinui party, including Interior Minister Avraham Poraz, effective December 3. Sharon takes over the interior portfolio himself.
Mexico: Luis Armando Reynoso Femat takes office as governor of Aguascalientes, Ulises Ruiz Ortiz as governor of Oaxaca, and Fidel Herrera Beltrán as governor of Veracruz.
Somalia: Prime Minister Ali Muhammad Ghedi names a partial government including Abdullahi Sheikh Ismail as foreign minister, Abdirahman Mahmud Ali as defense minister, and Salim Aliyow Ibrow as finance minister. Ghedi completes the cabinet on December 6; Hussein Aydid is named interior minister.

Switzerland: Martine Brunschwig Graf becomes president of the Council of State of Genčve.
Switzerland: Former Landammann of Glarus (1998-2002) Rudolf Gisler dies.
Ukraine: The parliament sacks Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych's government in a no-confidence vote passed by 229 votes. Minutes earlier the motion fell short with 222 votes (226 are needed). On December 3 the Supreme Court invalidates the result of the recent presidential election, calling for a repeat of the runoff between Yanukovych and Viktor Yushchenko, to be held on December 26. On December 7 President Leonid Kuchma approves a leave for Yanukovych and names First Deputy Prime Minister Mykola Azarov as temporary successor.



Czech Republic: Ivan Kosatík is elected governor of Olomoucký kraj and Michal Rabas governor of Pardubický kraj.


India: Syed Sibtey Razi is appointed governor of Jharkhand. He is sworn in on December 10.
Isle of Man: Chief Minister Richard Corkill resigns. On December 14 Donald Gelling is elected chief minister.
Latvia: The new government of Prime Minister Aigars Kalvitis is approved by parliament (75-23).
Mozambique: In presidential elections held December 1-2, Armando Guebuza of the ruling Frelimo wins 63.7% of the vote and Afonso Dhlakama of Renamo 31.7%. In parliamentary elections, Frelimo wins 62% of the vote (160 of 250 seats) and Renamo 29.7% (90). Turnout is 36.3%.

Serbia and Montenegro: Kosovo President Ibrahim Rugova nominates Ramush Haradinaj as prime minister. On December 3 the parliament reelects Rugova as president (64-32) and elects Haradinaj as prime minister (72-3).
United States: President George W. Bush names Nebraska Governor Mike Johanns as secretary of agriculture. On December 3 he names Bernard Kerik to become secretary of homeland security. Kerik withdraws his name from consideration on December 10. Also on December 10 Bush names Samuel W. Bodman to become energy secretary. On December 13 he names Mike Leavitt to become secretary of health and human services.


Australia: Peter Underwood is sworn in as chief justice and thus acting governor of Tasmania, replacing William Cox who is sworn in as governor on December 15.
India: Gopalkrishna Gandhi is appointed governor of West Bengal. He is sworn in on December 14.
Slovenia: Parliament approves Prime Minister Janez Jansa's cabinet (51-37).


Niger: In the presidential runoff, incumbent Mamadou Tandja wins 65.5% of the vote and Mahamadou Issoufou 34.5%. Turnout is 45%. In parliamentary elections, Tandja's National Movement for the Development Society wins 47 of 113 seats, the Democratic and Social Convention 22, the Nigerien Party for Democracy and Socialism 17, the Social Democratic Rally 7, the Rally for Democracy and Progress 6, the Alliance for Democracy and Progress 5, and the Party for Socialism and Democracy in Niger 1. Turnout is 44.7%. Prime Minister Hama Amadou resigns on December 23, as the constitution requires, but is reappointed the next day. In the new government formed on December 30, Hassan Souley Bonto becomes defense minister and Mounkaďla Modi interior minister.


Georgia: In Abkhazia, rival presidential candidates Sergey Bagapsh and Raul Khadjimba agree to hold new elections and run on a joint ticket, with Khadjimba as vice presidential candidate.
Russia: Results of gubernatorial elections: Venezuela: Nelson Merentes is named to replace Tobías Nóbrega as finance minister.


India: S.M. Krishna is sworn in as governor of Maharashtra.
Zimbabwe: Joice Mujuru is sworn in as vice president.


Czech Republic: Milos Vystrcil is elected governor of Vysocina kraj.
Ghana: In presidential elections, incumbent John Agyekum Kufuor of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) wins 53.4% of the vote and John Atta Mills of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) 43.7%. In parliamentary elections, the NPP wins 128 of 230 seats and the NDC 92.
Lithuania: President Valdas Adamkus approves the new cabinet, after forcing Prime Minister Algirdas Brazauskas to drop two of his candidates, including the designated interior minister, Viktoras Muntianas, that post going instead to Gintaras Furmanavicius.



Cameroon: President Paul Biya appoints a new government with Ephraďm Inoni as prime minister, Laurent Esso as foreign minister, Rémy Ze Meka as defense minister, and Polycarpe Abah Abah as finance minister; Marafa Hamidou Yaya remains as interior minister.
Czech Republic: Libor Lukás is elected governor of Zlínský kraj.
Malaysia: Former chief minister of Malacca (1972-78) Datuk Setia Abdul Ghani Ali dies.
Switzerland: Parliament elects Samuel Schmid as president for 2005 and Moritz Leuenberger as vice president.


Guinea: Cellou Dalein Diallo is appointed prime minister. He takes office December 13.
South Korea: Former foreign minister (1973-75) Kim Dong Jo dies.
Turkmenistan: Akmamet Rakhmanov is appointed interior minister in a cabinet reshuffle.


Austria: Interior Minister Ernst Strasser announces his resignation. Defense Minister Günther Platter replaces him on December 11. On December 17 Liese Prokop is nominated as new interior minister; she is sworn in on December 22.
Czech Republic: Petr Skokan is elected governor of Liberecký kraj.
Macedonia: Prime minister-designate Vlado Buckovski submits his list of ministers, including Jovan Manasievski as new defense minister and Ljubomir Mihajlovski as new interior minister, keeping Ilinka Mitreva as foreign minister and Nikola Popovski as finance minister. Parliament elects the government on December 17 (71-25).



Cook Islands: Queen's Representative Sir Fred Goodwin dissolves the government of Prime Minister Robert Woonton, after a recount found that the votes in Woonton's constituency at the last general election were evenly split between him and a rival candidate. On December 14 Jim Marurai is elected prime minister (14-9). He and his cabinet are sworn in the same day; the portfolios are allocated on December 16 with Sir Geoffrey Henry becoming deputy prime minister and finance minister and Tom Marsters foreign minister, while Peri Vaevae Pare remains internal affairs minister.
Portugal: The government of Prime Minister Pedro Santana Lopes resigns a day after President Jorge Sampaio called early elections for February 20.
Somalia: Parliament passes a no-confidence motion against Prime Minister Ali Muhammad Ghedi's cabinet. On December 13, President Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed reappoints Ghedi and asks him to form a new government. He is endorsed by parliament on December 23.
Taiwan: In parliamentary elections, the Democratic Progressive Party wins 35.7% of the vote (89 of 225 seats), the Nationalist Party 32.8% (79), the People First Party 13.9% (34), and the Taiwan Solidarity Union 7.8% (12).

Vanuatu: Prime Minister Serge Vohor is ousted after a no-confidence motion (35-14). Deputy Prime Minister Ham Lini is elected as new prime minister. Sato Kilman is named as new foreign minister and George Wells as new internal affairs minister; Moana Carcasses Kalosil remains finance minister.


Canada: Former lieutenant governor of Newfoundland (1963-69) Fabian O'Dea dies.
India: Former chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir (1971-75) Syed Mir Qasim dies.



Romania: In the presidential runoff, Traian Basescu is elected with 51.2% of the votes against 48.8% for Prime Minister Adrian Nastase. Basescu takes office December 20. The next day Nastase resigns as prime minister and Eugen Bejinariu becomes interim prime minister. On December 22 Basescu nominates Calin Popescu-Tariceanu as prime minister. On December 26 Popescu-Tariceanu names a cabinet including Mihai-Razvan Ungureanu as foreign minister, Teodor Atanasiu as defense minister, Ionut Popescu as finance minister, and Vasile Blaga as interior minister. Parliament approves the new government on December 28 (265-200) and it is sworn in on December 29.


Georgia: In a cabinet reshuffle, Interior Minister Irakli Okruashvili is named defense minister and Security Minister Vano Merabishvili police and social order minister, as such taking over the former functions of the interior minister.
Georgia: Sergey Shamba is appointed foreign minister of Abkhazia.


Fiji: President Ratu Josefa Iloilo proposes, and the Great Council of Chiefs approves, Ratu Joni Madraiwiwi as vice president. He is to take up the post in January.
Pitcairn Island: Jay Warren is elected mayor.
Saint-Pierre and Miquelon: Albert Dupuy is appointed to replace Claude Valleix as prefect. Dupuy is to take over in mid-January.
United Kingdom: Home Secretary David Blunkett resigns. Charles Clarke is appointed to replace him.
Wallis and Futuna: Xavier de Furst is appointed to replace Christian Job as administrator-superior.


China: Huang Xiaojing is elected acting governor of Fujian.
Fiji: In a cabinet reshuffle, Josefa Vosanibola replaces Joketani Cokanasiga as home affairs minister.
India: S.K. Singh is sworn in as governor of Arunachal Pradesh.


Bosnia and Herzegovina: The prime minister of the Republika Srpska, Dragan Mikerevic, resigns.


Bosnia and Herzegovina: Foreign Minister Mladen Ivanic resigns.


Russia: In presidential elections in the Mari El republic, incumbent Leonid Markelov is reelected with 56.9% of the vote, while Mikhail Dolgov gets 18.9%, Aleksandr Korotkov 10.4%, Aleksandr Zagaynov 1.2%, Sergey Grigoryev 1.1%, and 9.8% vote against all candidates. Turnout is 63.9%. In Khabarovsk kray, incumbent Viktor Ishayev is reelected with 85.3% of the vote, while Gennady Maltsev gets 4.2%, Oleg Kolenko 1.6%, and 5.7% vote against all candidates. Turnout is 47%. In the runoff in Kurgan oblast (postponed from December 5), incumbent Oleg Bogomolov is reelected governor with 49.2% of the vote against 40.1% for Yevgeny Sobakin and 9.5% against all. Turnout is 44%.
Turkmenistan: In the first round of parliamentary elections, 43 of 50 seats are filled, all candidates being supporters of President Saparmurat Niyazov. Turnout is 76.9%.


French Southern and Antarctic Lands: Michel Champon is appointed to replace François Garde as administrator-superior.
Mayotte: Jean-Paul Kihl is appointed to replace Jean-Jacques Brot as prefect.
Uruguay: Alejo Fernández Chaves takes office as interior minister.


Bosnia and Herzegovina: Former chairman of the Executive Council (1965-67) Rudi Kolak dies.


Afghanistan: President Hamid Karzai announces a new cabinet. Anwar ul-Haq Ahady is the new finance minister and Abdul Rahim Wardak the new defense minister. Abdullah Abdullah remains foreign minister and Ali Ahmad Jalali interior minister.

China: Song Xiuyan becomes acting governor of Qinghai.
India: Former foreign minister (1980-84, 1988-89) and prime minister (1991-96) P.V. Narasimha Rao dies.
India: Former chief minister of Rajasthan (1985) Heera Lal Devpura dies.


Azerbaijan: Arman Melikyan is appointed foreign minister of Nagorno-Karabakh.
Guadeloupe: Former president of the Regional Council (1982-83) Marcel Gargar dies.


India: Former chief minister of Tripura (1978-88) Nripen Chakraborty dies.


Indonesia: Abdullah Puteh is officially suspended as governor of Nanggroe Aceh Darussalam. He was already de facto suspended on July 19, when his duties were delegated to Deputy Governor Azwar Abubakar.
Russia: Aleksey Lebed is reelected chairman of the government of Khakassia, winning 59.4% of the vote against 12% for Vladimir Kerzhentsev (Communist) and 10.8% against all. Turnout is 37.2%.
Ukraine: In the repeat of the presidential runoff, Viktor Yushchenko wins 52% of the vote and Viktor Yanukovych 44.2%. Yanukovych resigns as prime minister on December 31.
Uzbekistan: In the first round of parliamentary elections, 62 of 120 constituencies are decided, with the Liberal-Democratic Party winning 21 seats, the People's Democratic Party 18, the Fidokorlar National-Democratic Party 9, the National Renaissance Democratic Party 6, the Adolat Social-Democratic Party 2, and initiative-group candidates 6. Turnout is about 85%. The second round is to be held on January 9.


Moldova: Valeriu Plesca is appointed defense minister. He is sworn in the next day.


Russia: The parliament of Adygeya approves Asfar Khagur as new prime minister.