Beaconsfield, Benjamin Disraeli, Earl of, Viscount Hughenden of Hughenden, byname Dizzy (b. Dec. 21, 1804, London, England - d. April 19, 1881, London), British prime minister (1868, 1874-80). In 1837, he entered Parliament as a Conservative. His maiden speech in the House of Commons was a failure, but before long, he became a speaker who commanded attention. The Conservative leader, Sir Robert Peel, encouraged Disraeli, but when in 1841 the Conservatives won the election and Peel became prime minister, Disraeli was not given office in the cabinet. His attitude toward Peel and his brand of Conservatism became increasingly critical. Disraeli consolidated the opposition to Peel in a series of brilliant speeches. Peel was forced to resign in 1846. When the Whig government fell in 1852 and the Earl of Derby, leader of the Conservative Party, formed a short-lived minority government, Disraeli was chancellor of the exchequer. In 1865 Derby formed his third minority government with Disraeli again as chancellor of the exchequer. In 1868 when Derby retired from politics, Disraeli became prime minister. The government was only a caretaker one, for the general election awaited only the completion of a new electoral register, and later in 1868 the Liberals won. The Conservatives won a resounding victory in 1874 and he became prime minister again. By 1876 his poor health had made leading the Commons onerous, so he accepted a peerage, taking the title Earl of Beaconsfield, and became leader in the House of Lords. In 1878 Queen Victoria offered him a dukedom, which he refused, and the Order of the Garter, which he accepted. The Conservatives were heavily defeated in the general election of 1880.
Beame, Abraham D(avid), original surname Birnbaum (b. March 20, 1906, London, England - d. Feb. 10, 2001, New York City), mayor of New York City (1974-78). He came to the United States in 1907. He held many posts in city government, including assistant budget director under Mayor William O'Dwyer, budget director under Mayor Vincent R. Impellitteri, and city comptroller in 1962. After an unsuccessful mayoral bid in 1965, he ran successfully for comptroller in 1969. He ran again for mayor in 1973, winning by almost 700,000 votes. He became the city's first Jewish mayor. He served through the darkest days of the city's 1975 fiscal crisis. It began when banks refused to buy city notes because the city could not provide enough information about uncollected real estate taxes. Before it was over, municipal job rolls, salaries, and services were cut and a mountain of debt was made manageable by a complex partnership of union pension funds, banks, and the state and federal governments. His administration will always be remembered as the time the bill came due for decades of profligate government. He spent his last years defending his reputation from those who said he was a bean-counter who couldn't count - a man who, as city budget director, comptroller, and finally as mayor, failed to prevent a fiscal catastrophe. In his own defense, he said he had warned for years against accounting gimmicks that hid the city's true financial condition and against using capital funds for day-to-day expenses. He said he cut 60,000 city jobs. At crunch time in 1975, he raised the transit fare from 35 to 50 cents, closed firehouses, and imposed tuition on what had been a free City University. Beame's hopes of a second term were dashed by his third-place finish, behind Ed Koch and Mario Cuomo, in a 6-candidate Democratic primary.
Beasley, David M(uldrow) (b. Feb. 26, 1957, Lamar, S.C.), governor of South Carolina (1995-99). A Democrat turned Republican, Beasley was elected to the state House in 1978 at age 20 and served 14 years, rising to majority leader and becoming chairman of the Education and Public Works Committee. In 1992, he resigned to run for governor, with covert support (dictated by party decorum) from Gov. Carroll Campbell and open support from the Christian right. In the Republican primary, Beasley faced flamboyant Charleston Congressman Arthur Ravenel and former Congressman Tommy Hartnett. Beasley made no secret that he had a born-again religious experience in 1984, and got attention when a Democrat joked that he had two skills needed by a Republican, how to handle snakes and speak in tongues. But this was an asset in a state where 55% of Beasley's voters identified themselves as supporting his religious views. In a Republican primary, Beasley won 47% to 32% for Ravenel and 21% for Hartnett; among Democrats, Nick A. Theodore had 49.6% to 38% for Charleston Mayor Joe Riley, Jr. Beasley won his runoff 58%-42%, while Theodore finished only microscopically ahead of Riley in the Democratic runoff. The general election in November 1994 was a battle between the affable, mature Theodore and the fervent, young Beasley. Beasley won by a 50%-48% margin. Theodore carried 92% of blacks, Beasley 80% of the white religious right. In office, Beasley called for state term limits and unfunded mandate laws, property tax cuts, efforts to encourage small business job creation and encouragement of exports, a work requirement and two-year limit for welfare, and tougher prison sentences. In 1998 he was defeated for reelection by Democrat Jim Hodges.
Beasley, John Albert (b. Nov. 9, 1895, Werribee, Vic. - d. Sept. 2, 1949, Sydney, N.S.W.), defence minister of Australia (1945-46). He was also minister of supply and development (1941-42) and supply and shipping (1942-45) and high commissioner to the United Kingdom (1946-49).
Beatrix (Wilhelmina Armgard) (b. Jan. 31, 1938, Soestdijk palace, Baarn, Utrecht province, Netherlands), queen of the Netherlands (1980-2013). She was the eldest of four daughters born to Princess (later Queen) Juliana and Bernhard of Lippe-Biesterfeld. When the Germans overran the Netherlands in World War II, the royal family in May 1940 took refuge in England. Princess Juliana and her daughters Beatrix and Irene then went to Ottawa. After the German surrender the family returned to the Netherlands in August 1945. When Juliana ascended the throne in 1948, Princess Beatrix received the title of heiress presumptive. From 1956 to 1961 she attended the State University of Leiden, studying mainly social sciences, law, and history. On June 28, 1965, Queen Juliana and Prince Bernhard announced the engagement of Beatrix to a West German diplomat, Claus George Willem Otto Frederik Geert von Amsberg (b. Sept. 6, 1926, Dotzingen, northern Germany - d. Oct. 6, 2002, Amsterdam), causing a national furor because of his past membership in the Hitler Youth and the German army, even though he had been cleared by an Allied court. On March 10, 1966, they were married, and the hostility apparently dimmed with the births of Willem-Alexander Claus George Ferdinand (April 27, 1967, Utrecht), Johan Friso Bernhard Christiaan David (Sept. 25, 1968, Utrecht), and Constantijn Christof Frederik Aschwin (Oct. 11, 1969, Utrecht), the first male heirs in the House of Orange since 1890. (Johan Friso is to be excluded from the succession due to a controversial marriage announced in 2003.) Beatrix ascended the throne in 1980 when Queen Juliana abdicated. She was particularly interested in sculpture, painting, ballet, and music and regularly visited exhibitions and attended performances. She abdicated after exactly 33 years on the throne.
Beattie, Sir David Stuart (b. Feb. 29, 1924, Sydney, N.S.W. - d. Feb. 4, 2001, Wellington, New Zealand), governor-general of New Zealand (1980-85); knighted 1980.
Beattie, Peter (Douglas) (b. Nov. 18, 1952, Sydney, N.S.W.), premier of Queensland (1998-2007).
Beatty, (Henry) Perrin (b. June 1, 1950, Toronto, Ont.), Canadian solicitor general (1985-86, 1988-89) and minister of national revenue (1984-85), defense (1986-89), national health and welfare (1989-91), communications (1991-93), and external affairs and Francophonie (1993).
Beau, (Jean Baptiste) Paul (b. Jan. 25, 1857, Bordeaux, France - d. Feb. 14, 1927, Paris, France), governor-general of French Indochina (1902-08). He was also French minister to China (1901-02) and ambassador to Belgium (1909-11).
Beauchamp, Laurent Marie Émile (b. April 1, 1838, Orange, Vaucluse, France - d. 19...), governor of Saint-Pierre and Miquelon (1894-95) and Réunion (1896-1900).
Beaujon, Frederik J.C., byname Fredy Beaujon (b. 1906 - d. 1964), administrator of Aruba (1959-64).
Beaujon, Jan Jacob, byname Japa Beaujon, administrator of Sint Maarten (1959-68); son of Richard Johannes Beaujon, Jr.
Beaujon, Otto R(udy) A. (b. 1915 - d. 1984), acting administrator of Aruba (1959) and prime minister of the Netherlands Antilles (1971-72).
Beaujon, Richard Johannes, Jr., byname Hensi Beaujon (b. June 30, 1883, Aruba - d. 19...), administrator of Bonaire (1921-23) and Sint Maarten (1923-27).
Beaulne, (Joseph Charles Léonard) Yvon (b. Feb. 22, 1919, Ottawa, Ont. - d. June 8, 1999, Hull [now part of Gatineau], Que.), Canadian diplomat. He was ambassador to Venezuela (1962-64), the Dominican Republic (1963-64), Brazil (1967-69), and the Vatican (1979-84) and permanent representative to the United Nations (1969-72).
Beaumont, (John) Michael (b. Dec. 20, 1927), seigneur of Sark (1974- ); grandson of Sybil Hathaway.
Beauperthuy (Urich), Pedro Augusto (b. April 22, 1942, Cumaná, Sucre, Venezuela), governor of Monagas (1987-89). He was also Venezuelan education minister (1992-93).
Beauvoir, Vilfort, byname Ti Vilfort Beauvoir (b. Feb. 26, 1892, Port-au-Prince, Haiti - d. March 7, 1971, Port-au-Prince), foreign minister (1949-50, 1957-58) and member of the Executive Government Council (1957) of Haiti.
Beaux, Henri (Charles) (b. April 4, 1922, Milan, Italy), governor of Saint-Pierre and Miquelon (1971-74), high commissioner of the Comoros (1974-75), and administrator-superior of Wallis and Futuna (1976-79).
Beavogui, Louis Lansana (b. Dec. 28, 1923, Macenta, French Guinea [now Guinea] - d. Aug. 19, 1984, Conakry, Guinea), foreign minister (1961-69), premier (1972-84), and interim president (1984) of Guinea. He was also minister of trade, industry, and mining of French Guinea (1957-58) and minister of economic affairs and planning (1958-61).
Beazley, Kim (Christian) (b. Dec. 14, 1948, Perth, Western Australia), Australian politician. The son of Kim Edward Beazley (who was a federal parliamentarian for more than 30 years representing the electorate of Fremantle and was minister for education from December 1973 to November 1975 in the Gough Whitlam government), he first entered parliament in 1980 when he won the Perth metropolitan seat of Swan in a general election. He held the seat of Swan in every subsequent election up to and including 1993, moving to the seat of Brand in 1996. His ministerial career began on March 11, 1983, in the first Robert Hawke government, when he became minister for aviation and minister assisting the minister for defence. He was the youngest member of the ministry at the time of his appointments. On Dec. 13, 1984, Beazley became the youngest ever Australian defence minister. He also served as special minister of state from July 14, 1983, to Jan. 21, 1984. On Feb. 15, 1988, he was appointed government leader in the House of Representatives and vice-president of the Executive Council. In April 1990, after a general election, he was appointed minister for transport and communications. He served as finance minister Dec. 9-27, 1991, before becoming minister for employment, education and training. He was reappointed to the finance portfolio in December 1993. On June 20, 1995, the Federal Labor Caucus elected Beazley deputy prime minister, a position he held until the federal election of 1996 which Labor lost. He became leader of the opposition and leader of the Labor Party on March 19, 1996. But he was criticized for being too nice to win government. Labor lost the 1998 and 2001 elections, and he resigned after the latter defeat. He returned to the leadership in 2005, but was challenged and defeated by Kevin Rudd in 2006. In 2010-16 he was ambassador to the United States.
Bebel, August (Ferdinand) (b. Feb. 22, 1840, Deutz [now part of Cologne] - d. Aug. 13, 1913, Passugg, Graubünden, Switzerland), German politician. He joined the Leipzig Workers' Educational Association in 1861 and became its chairman in 1865. Wilhelm Liebknecht became in many respects Bebel's mentor. In 1867 Bebel entered the constituent Reichstag of the North German Confederation as a member for the Sächsische Volkspartei (Saxon People's Party). This and other like-minded parties united in 1869 in the Sozialdemokratische Arbeiterpartei (Social Democratic Labour Party) of Germany. Already in 1867, Bebel had protested against the Bismarckian "greater Prussia," believing that it meant "turning Germany into one great barracks." In parliament he continued this protest both before and after the founding of the German Empire. He and Liebknecht were the only voices to speak against the war loan voted in the Reichstag on July 21, 1870; as a result, they were brought to trial on a charge of high treason at Leipzig in March 1872. He was sentenced to two years' imprisonment; beginning with an earlier sentence in 1869, Bebel spent a total of nearly five years in prison within less than 20 years, though he never faced any graver charge than that of "spreading doctrines dangerous to the state," "lèse-majesté," "libel of Bismarck," or "libel of the Bundesrat." His book Die Frau und der Sozialismus (1883; Woman and Socialism, 1904), was the most powerful piece of Social Democratic propaganda for decades. Bebel, a member of the Reichstag from 1867 almost continuously until his death, was able to keep the Social Democratic Party united at nearly all times and saw its representation increase to over 100 deputies.
Bebic, Luka (b. Aug. 21, 1937, Desni, near Metkovic, Yugoslavia [now in Croatia]), defense minister of Croatia (1991). He became president of the Sabor in 2008.
Beblawi, Hazem (Abdelaziz) al-, Arabic Hazim `Abd al-`Aziz al-Bablawi (b. Oct. 17, 1936), finance minister (2011) and prime minister (2013-14) of Egypt.
Beccari, Luca (b. Oct. 29, 1974, San Marino), captain-regent of San Marino (2014).
Becerra de la Flor, Daniel (b. Jan. 23, 1906, Moquegua, Peru - d. May 1, 1987), prime minister of Peru (1965-67). He was also health minister (1965-67).
Bech, Joseph (b. Feb. 17, 1887, Diekirch, Luxembourg - d. March 8, 1975, Luxembourg, Luxembourg), prime minister (1926-37, 1953-58), foreign minister (1926-59), and defense minister (1951-53) of Luxembourg. He was also president of the Chamber of Deputies (1959-64).
Bech, Victor Marius (b. March 16, 1891, Toulon, Var, France - d. May 22, 1979, Clamart, Hauts-de-Seine, France), acting governor-general of Madagascar (1942-43).
Béchard, Paul (Léon Albin) (b. Dec. 25, 1899, Alès, Gard, France - d. April 26, 1982, Montpellier, Hérault, France), governor-general of French West Africa (1948-51).
Béchoff, Roland (Luc) (b. July 28, 1906, Paris, France - d. January 2006), prefect of Réunion (1950-52). He was also prefect of the départements of Haute-Loire (1945), Orne (1946-50), Savoie (1953-57), and Loir-et-Cher (1957).
Beck, Józef (b. Oct. 4, 1894, Warsaw, Poland, Russian Empire - d. June 6, 1944, Stanesti, Romania), foreign minister of Poland (1932-39). He joined Józef Pilsudski's legion in the Austrian service in World War I and fought for the Central Powers against tsarist Russia. When Pilsudski disbanded his legion in anger over the abuse of Polish territory by the Austrian and German authorities, he joined the POW, a secret group. After the Russian Revolution this society organized the Poles against Prussia and Austria. In 1918 he was sent to Russia, where, using an assumed name, he posed as a captured Austrian officer and was placed in charge of a Red Army regiment containing many Poles. During his short tenure he issued many passes enabling the Poles to escape and was himself on the way back to Poland when the secret police unmasked his activities. He reached Poland safely and Pilsudski, hearing of his exploits, named him his personal aide. In 1922 he became military attaché to the Polish legation in Paris, but within a year he was obliged to return to Poland by the advent to power of an anti-Pilsudski government. He returned to power in 1926 when he became Pilsudski's chef de cabinet in the Ministry of War. He was elevated to vice premier in 1930 and became foreign minister on Nov. 2, 1932. He attempted to maintain a non-threatening attitude toward both the Soviet Union and Germany while strengthening alliances of Poland with France and with Romania. After the Germans invaded Czechoslovakia in March 1939, Beck gained the disputed Teschen area for his country and on April 6 signed the alliance with Great Britain that was to bring Britain into World War II after the Germans invaded Poland in September of that same year. Beck then left Poland and spent the remainder of his days in Romania.
Beck, Kurt (b. Feb. 5, 1949, Bad Bergzabern, Germany), minister-president of Rheinland-Pfalz (1994-2013). He was chairman of the Social Democratic Party of Germany in 2006-08.
Becker, George F(rederick) (b. Oct. 20, 1928, Granite City, Ill. - d. Feb. 3, 2007, Gibsonia, Pa.), president of the United Steelworkers of America (1994-2001).
Beckett, Dame Margaret (Mary), née Jackson (b. Jan. 15, 1943, Ashton-under-Lyne, Lancashire, England), British foreign secretary (2006-07). A member of Parliament in 1974-79 and since 1983, she was deputy leader of the Labour Party in 1992-94 and acting leader in May-July 1994 after the death of John Smith. She was trade and industry secretary (1997-98) and lord president of the council and leader of the House of Commons (1998-2001) before becoming secretary of state for the newly formed Department for Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs (2001-06). She then became Britain's first female foreign secretary, but was dropped from the cabinet when Gordon Brown became prime minister in 2007. She was knighted in 2012.
Beckingham, Peter (b. March 16, 1949, Essex, England), governor of the Turks and Caicos Islands (2013- ). He was British ambassador to the Philippines in 2005-09.
Beckstein, Günther (b. Nov. 23, 1943, Hersbruck, Germany), minister-president of Bayern (2007-08).
Bécu, Gaston (Marius) (b. 18... - d. 1945, Cannes, France), resident of Wallis and Futuna (1921-24).
Bédaya-Ngaro, Simon (b. May 28, 1936, Bedaya 1, near Paoua, northwestern Oubangui-Chari [now Central African Republic] - d. Jan. 29, 2006, Lyon, France), foreign minister of the Central African Republic (1980-81, 1993-96).
Bédié, (Aimé) Henri Konan (b. May 5, 1934, Dadiékro, Daoukro département, Ivory Coast), president of Côte d'Ivoire (1993-99). He was ambassador to the United States (1961-66) and Canada (1963-66), economy and finance minister (1966-77), and president of the National Assembly (1980-93) and succeeded Pres. Félix Houphouët-Boigny after his death. He is from the Baoule tribe to which Houphouët-Boigny belonged and which had dominated Ivory Coast's politics since independence from France in 1960. Deposed in a 1999 coup, he fled to Togo on December 26 and then to France on Jan. 3, 2000. He briefly came back on Oct. 15, 2001, to take part in a national reconciliation forum but left after its end. He returned from his exile on Sept. 11, 2005, to organize his presidential campaign. The elections were due in October but later postponed to 2006 and ultimately only held in 2010; Bédié finished third.
Bédier (de Prairie), (Philippe Marie) Achille (b. Dec. 25, 1791, Saint-Denis, Île Bourbon [now Réunion] - d. 1865), governor of French India (1851-52).
Bedjaoui, Mohammed, Arabic Muhammad Bijawi (b. Sept. 21, 1929, Sidi-bel-Abbès, Algeria), foreign minister of Algeria (2005-07). He was formerly justice minister (1964-70), ambassador to France (1970-79), permanent representative to the United Nations (1979-82), a judge (1982-2001) and president (1994-97) of the International Court of Justice, and president of the Constitutional Council (2002-05).
Bedoui, Noureddine (b. Dec. 22, 1959, Ain Taya, Alger wilaya, Algeria), interior minister of Algeria (2015- ). He was also wali of Sidi Bel Abbès (1996-2000), Bordj Bou Arreridj (2000-04), Sétif (2004-10), and Constantine (2010-13) and minister of vocational training and professional education (2013-15).
Bedregal Gutiérrez, Guillermo (b. Oct. 16, 1926, La Paz, Bolivia), foreign minister of Bolivia (1979, 1986-89). He was also minister of planning (1985-86) and president of the Chamber of Deputies (1993-94, 1995-96).
Beeckman de Libersart, Maximilien (Henri Ghislain) baron de (b. Jan. 31, 1781, Leuven, Austrian Netherlands [now Belgium] - d. Oct. 8, 1834, Aachen, Prussia [now in Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany]), governor of Hainaut (1826-28) and Limburg (1828-31).
Beek, Relus ter, byname of Aurelus Louis ter Beek (b. Jan. 18, 1944, Coevorden, Drenthe, Netherlands - d. Sept. 29, 2008, Assen, Drenthe), defense minister of the Netherlands (1989-94) and queen's commissioner of Drenthe (1995-2008).
Beel, Louis (Joseph Maria) (b. April 12, 1902, Roermond, Limburg, Netherlands - d. Feb. 11, 1977, Utrecht, Netherlands), prime minister of the Netherlands (1946-48, 1958-59) and high commissioner of Indonesia (1948-49).
Beelaerts van Blokland, Frans (b. Jan. 21, 1872, The Hague, Netherlands - d. March 27, 1956, The Hague), foreign minister of the Netherlands (1927-33). He was also minister to China (1909-18).
Beelaerts van Blokland, Pieter (Adriaan Cornelis) (b. Dec. 8, 1932, Heerjansdam, Zuid-Holland, Netherlands), queen's commissioner of Utrecht (1985-98); second cousin of Frans Beelaerts van Blokland. He was also mayor of Amstelveen (1971-77), Apeldoorn (1981-85), and Hengelo (acting, 1999-2000) and Dutch minister of housing and regional planning (1977-81).
Beer, Charles (b. Nov. 13, 1961, Geneva, Switzerland), president of the Council of State of Genève (2006-07, 2012-13).
Beernaert, Auguste (Marie François) (b. July 26, 1829, Ostend, Belgium - d. Oct. 6, 1912, Luzern, Switzerland), prime minister of Belgium (1884-94). He was elected to the Belgian Chamber of Deputies in 1873 and became minister of public works in Jules Malou's conservative Catholic cabinet. In the next five years he proved to be an able and energetic administrator. He improved the country's rail, canal, and road systems, established new port facilities at Ostend and Antwerp, and beautified the capital, but he failed in his attempt to end child labour in the mines. In June 1874 he lost a contest for a seat in the Senate but three months later won an election in the west Flanders town of Thielt, a constituency which reelected him until his death. When the Catholic Party, defeated in 1878, was returned to power in 1884, Beernaert was named minister of agriculture, industry, and public works in the new cabinet. Four months later, after some resignations from the cabinet, King Leopold II entrusted Beernaert with the direction of the government. For the next ten years he was prime minister and minister of finance. Under his administration the constitution of 1831 was revised, the right of suffrage being granted to ten times the number of citizens who had formerly enjoyed it. On another constitutional question, that of proportional representation, the cabinet fell in 1894. In 1895-1900 he was president of the Chamber of Deputies. He held the post of president of the International Law Association from 1903 to 1905. One of Belgium's leading pacifists, he was Belgium's first representative at the Hague peace conferences of 1899 and 1907. In 1909, when he was 80 years old, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize (jointly with Paul-H.-B. d'Estournelles de Constant).
Beevi, Fathima (b. April 30, 1927, Pathanamthitta, Travancore [now in Kerala], India), governor of Tamil Nadu (1997-2001). She was the first female judge of the Supreme Court of India (1989-92).
Beffre, Lionel (b. Jan. 20, 1964, Decazeville, Aveyron, France), high commissioner of French Polynesia (2013- ). He was also prefect of the French départements of Lot-et-Garonne (2007-10), Eure-et-Loir (2010-12), and Pyrénées-Atlantiques (2012-13).
Begin, Benny, byname of Ze'ev Binyamin Begin (b. March 1, 1943, Jerusalem), Israeli politician; son of Menachem Begin. He became the champion of Israel's ultranationalist right wing. He believed no peace with Palestinian president Yasir Arafat was possible and that Arafat's real intention was to destroy the Jewish state. Viewed as the Likud party's chief ideologue, he spoke in the courtly cadences of his father. In 1996 he became science minister. He broke away from Likud to mount his own challenge to Benjamin Netanyahu in 1999. He headed a bloc of hawks sworn to stop territorial concessions to the Palestinians. Begin saw few differences between Netanyahu and his centre-left rivals, saying all are willing to surrender land while pledging peace with security. While he knew he would most likely be knocked out of the race for prime minister (and he withdrew before the first round), he expected his rightist faction winning upwards of 10 seats in the 120-member parliament. Begin was regarded by friend and foe as courteous and as principled as he is ideologically rigid.
Begin, Charles Auguste Frédéric (b. July 2, 1835, Marie-Galante island, Guadeloupe - d. 1901), governor of Cochinchina (1885-86).
Begin, Menachem (Wolfovitch) (b. Aug. 16, 1913, Brest-Litovsk, Russia [now Brest, Belarus] - d. March 9, 1992, Tel Aviv, Israel), prime minister of Israel (1977-83). He was active in the Zionist movement throughout the 1930s and in 1938 became the leader of the Polish branch of the Betar youth movement, dedicated to the establishment of a Jewish state on both sides of the Jordan River. When the Germans invaded Warsaw in 1939, he escaped to Vilnius. The Soviet authorities deported Begin to Siberia in 1940, but in 1941 he was released and joined the Polish army in exile, with which he went to Palestine in 1942. He joined the militant Irgun Zvai Leumi and was its commander in 1943-48, directing among other things the bombing of the King David Hotel in 1946, which killed 91 people. After Israel's independence in 1948 the Irgun formed the Herut ("Freedom") Party with Begin as its head and opposition leader in the Knesset until 1967. Begin joined the National Unity government (1967-70) as a minister without portfolio and in 1970 became joint chairman of the Likud ("Unity") coalition. On May 17, 1977, the Likud Party won elections and on June 21 Begin formed a government. Prodded by U.S. Pres. Jimmy Carter, Begin negotiated with Pres. Anwar as-Sadat of Egypt for peace in the Middle East, and a peace treaty between Israel and Egypt was signed on March 26, 1979. Begin and Sadat were jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1978. In the early 1980s, his opposition to the establishment of a Palestinian state remained resolute. His party failed to win a clear majority in a general election in 1981, but he was able to form a coalition. Israel's 1982 invasion of Lebanon, causing well-publicized civilian casualties, turned world opinion against Israel. Begin resigned in 1983.
Beglov, Aleksandr (Dmitriyevich) (b. May 19, 1956, Baku, Azerbaijan S.S.R.), acting governor of Saint Petersburg (2003) and plenipotentiary of the president in Tsentralny federal district (2012- ).
Begmatova, Sakin (Begmatovna) (b. Aug. 21, 1921, Koi-Tash village, Russia [now in Kyrgyzstan] - d. [car accident] June 28, 1981), foreign minister of the Kirgiz S.S.R. (1963-80).
Begovic, Alija (b. Oct. 31, 1953, Gorazde [now in Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina]), governor of Bosnian Podrinje (2000-01).
Béguin, Jacques (b. March 26, 1922, La Chaux-de-Fonds, Neuchâtel, Switzerland - d. Nov. 23, 2007, La Chaux-de-Fonds), president of the Council of State of Neuchâtel (1971-72, 1976-77, 1980-81, 1983-84).
Béguin, Thierry (b. Dec. 2, 1947, La Chaux-de-Fonds, Neuchâtel), president of the Council of State of Neuchâtel (2000-01, 2003-04).
Béhague, Jean Pierre Antoine, comte de (b. Nov. 23, 1727, Calais, France - d. May 11, 1813, London), governor of Martinique (1791-92).
Beheiry, Mamoun (Ahmed Abdel Wahab) (b. Oct. 3, 1925, Um Ruaba, western Sudan - d. Sept. 5?, 2002, Khartoum, Sudan), finance minister of The Sudan (1963-64, 1975-77) and president of the African Development Bank (1964-70).
Beheshti, Ayatollah Mohammad (Hosseini) (b. Oct. 24, 1928, Isfahan, Iran - d. June 28, 1981, Tehran), Iranian politician. In the 1960s he served as a mullah to Iranian Muslim students in West Germany. A member of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Council given power on Feb. 3, 1979, by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini shortly after his return from France, Beheshti soon became the council's "first secretary." In the Majlis (parliament) inaugurated on May 28, 1980, he led the Islamic Republican Party (IRP), the religiously oriented party which, with its supporters, formed the most important and most cohesive group in that body. Since Hashemi Rafsanjani, the speaker of the Majlis, was effectively the number two man in the IRP, Beheshti had no serious difficulty defeating his rivals. Reputed to be a cunning manipulator behind the scenes, he was a good public speaker and behaved in a magisterial manner when dealing with both equals and subordinates. He played a leading part in the U.S. hostage crisis and was instrumental in the dismissal in June 1981 of Abolhassan Bani-Sadr, first president of the Islamic Republic. Beheshti was killed in an explosion at the party headquarters together with 71 other participants during a meeting.
Behmen, Alija (b. Dec. 25, 1940, Split, Croatia), prime minister of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina (2001-03).
Behounek, Jirí (b. May 13, 1952, Prague, Czechoslovakia [now in Czech Republic]), governor of Vysocina kraj (2008- ).
Behrendt, Walter (b. Sept. 18, 1914, Dortmund, Germany - d. July 23, 1997), president of the European Parliament (1971-73).
Beiba, Mahfoud Ali (Arabic Mahfud `Ali Bayba), also known as Mahfoud Ali al-Arusi (Mahfud `Ali al-`Arusi) (b. 1953, Saguia el Hamra region, Spanish West Africa [now Western Sahara] - d. July 2, 2010, February 27 camp, southwest Algeria), acting chairman of the Revolutionary Council (1976) and prime minister (1982-85, 1988-93, 1995-99) of the Saharan Arab Democratic Republic.
Beilin, Yossi, byname of Yosef Beilin (b. June 12, 1948, Petah Tikva, Israel), Israeli politician. He became a member of parliament in 1988 and served as deputy finance minister in 1988-90, minister of economy and planning in 1995, minister without portfolio in 1995-96, and justice minister in 1999-2001. An architect of the Oslo peace accords with the Palestinians, Beilin was an outspoken critic of Israel's military presence in south Lebanon and called for a unilateral troop withdrawal from the Jewish state's self-declared security zone there; this was effected in 2000. He was also the architect (with former Palestinian minister Yasser Abed Rabbo) of the "Geneva Accord," an alternative peace plan signed on Dec. 1, 2003.
Beingolea (Balarezo), Antonio (b. May 9, 1881, Lima, Peru - d. July 31, 1950, Lima), interior and police minister (1930-31) and war minister (1932-33) of Peru.
Bejinariu, Eugen (b. Jan. 28, 1959, Suceava, Romania), interim prime minister of Romania (2004).
Bejzat, Mugbil (b. Sept. 21, 1932, Stip, Yugoslavia [now in Macedonia]), justice minister of Yugoslavia (1971-74).
Bektemisov, Amangeldy (Imanakyshevich) (b. Feb. 16, 1945, Kirovsky, Taldy-Kurgan oblast, Kazakh S.S.R. [now Balpyk Bi, Almaty oblast, Kazakhstan] - d. Feb. 16, 2001), head of Vostochno-Kazakhstan oblast (1992-94).
Bekzadyan, Aleksandr (Artemyevich) (b. 1879, Shusha, Nagorno-Karabakh, Russia [now in Azerbaijan] - d. [executed] Aug. 15, 1938), people's commissar of foreign affairs of the Armenian S.S.R. (1920-21). He was also people's commissar of trade of the Transcaucasian S.F.S.R. (1926-30) and Soviet ambassador to Norway (1931-34) and Hungary (1934-37).
Belaiz, Tayeb (b. Aug. 21, 1948, Maghnia, Algeria), interior minister of Algeria (2013-15). He was also minister of employment and national solidarity (2002-03) and justice (2003-12).
Belaúnde (de la Torre), Mariano A(ndrés), finance minister of Peru (1899-1900); son-in-law of Pedro Diez Canseco.
Belaúnde (Diez Canseco), Víctor Andrés (b. Dec. 15, 1883, Arequipa, Peru - d. Dec. 14, 1966, New York City), foreign minister of Peru (1958) and president of the UN General Assembly (1959-60); son of Mariano A. Belaúnde. He was also minister to Uruguay (1919), Colombia (1934-35), and Switzerland (1936).
Belaúnde Diez Canseco, Rafael (b. March 8, 1886, Arequipa, Peru - d. April 10, 1972, Lima, Peru), prime minister of Peru (1945-46); son of Mariano A. Belaúnde; brother of Víctor Andrés Belaúnde. He was also minister to Mexico (1933-36), ambassador to Cuba (1936-37), Mexico (1937-38), and Chile (1938-39), and minister of interior and police (1945-46).
Belaúnde Terry, Fernando (Sergio Marcelo Marcos) (b. Oct. 7, 1912, Lima, Peru - d. June 4, 2002, Lima), president of Peru (1963-68, 1980-85); son of Rafael Belaúnde Diez Canseco; nephew of Víctor Andrés Belaúnde. He helped to found the National Democratic Front in 1943 and was its representative in the Chamber of Deputies in 1945-48. In 1956, he ran for president for the newly formed Democratic Youth Front; he was defeated but made a surprisingly strong showing. Shortly thereafter this party was renamed Popular Action. He was a fierce defender of his beliefs, to the point of fighting a sabre duel in 1957 with a political rival who had insulted him. The two nicked each other slightly, drawing blood, before referees called the duel over. First elected president in June 1963, he set about forming a reformist coalition. His program of land reform and road building to open the Amazon valley to settlement progressed, but he was frustrated in much of his domestic policy by an opposition-controlled Congress. Public outcry over an agreement with a U.S. corporation, the International Petroleum Company, on the development of oil fields in northern Peru led to his deposal by a military junta in October 1968. He fled to the U.S., returned to Peru in December 1970, and was again exiled from January 1971 to January 1976. In the presidential elections of May 1980 he was returned by a massive majority. He restored freedom of the press to Peru, but was baffled by high inflation, a huge foreign debt, and violent attacks by the Shining Path guerrilla. Resentment over his austerity measures and his inability to control the military in its fight against terrorists led to his crushing electoral defeat in May 1985.
Belaventsev, Oleg (Yevgenyevich) (b. Sept. 15, 1949), plenipotentiary of the president in Krymsky federal district (2014- ).
Belchev, Belcho (Antonov) (b. Nov. 5, 1932, Krastinesti, Bulgaria - d. March 29, 2008), finance minister of Bulgaria (1976-87, 1989-90). He was also ambassador to Yugoslavia (1988-89) and a deputy premier (1990).
Belchev, Hristo (Minchev) (b. 1857, Turnovo, Ottoman Empire [now Veliko Turnovo, Bulgaria] - d. [assassinated] March 27 [March 15, O.S.], 1891, Sofia, Bulgaria), finance minister of Bulgaria (1890-91).
Belchuk, Igor (Lvovich) (b. 1947), acting governor of Primorsky kray (2001).
Belgrave, Sir Elliot (Fitzroy), Elliot also spelled Elliott (b. March 16, 1931), governor-general of Barbados (2011-12 [acting], 2012- ); knighted 2012.
Béliz (Barijian), Gustavo (Osvaldo) (b. Jan. 7, 1962, Buenos Aires, Argentina), interior minister (1992-93) and justice minister (2003-04) of Argentina.
Belk, John Montgomery (b. March 29, 1920, Charlotte, N.C. - d. Aug. 17, 2007, Charlotte), mayor of Charlotte (1969-77).
Belka, Marek (b. Jan. 9, 1952, Lódz, Poland), deputy prime minister and finance minister (1997, 2001-02), acting prime minister (1997), and prime minister (2004-05) of Poland. In 2010 he became governor of the central bank.
Belkacem, Chérif (b. July 10, 1930, Ain Beida, Algeria - d. June 23, 2009, Paris, France), finance minister of Algeria (1968-70). He was also minister of national guidance (1963-64) and education (1964-65).
Belkacem, Krim, Arabic Karim Bilqasim (b. Dec. 14, 1922, Ait Yahia, Algeria - d. Oct. 18?, 1970, Frankfurt, West Germany), armed forces minister (1958-60), foreign minister (1960-61), and interior minister (1961-62) of the Provisional Government of the Algerian Republic. He was a member of the so-called "Club of Nine," a group of Algerian nationalists set up in 1954 to organize the insurrection against France. After independence, however, he denounced the regimes of both Ahmed Ben Bella and Houari Boumedienne. He founded the Mouvement démocratique du renouveau algérien in Paris in 1967. On April 6, 1969, he was sentenced to death by a revolutionary court in Oran. On Oct. 20, 1970, he was found strangled in a Frankfurt hotel.
Belkaid, Aboubakr (b. March 19, 1934, Tlemcen, Algeria - d. [assassinated] Sept. 28, 1995, Algiers, Algeria), interior minister of Algeria (1988-89). He was also minister of labour and vocational training (1986-87), higher education (1987-88), environment (1988-89), relations with parliament and associations (1991), communications (1991-92), and culture (1992).
Belkeziz, Abdelouahed, Arabic `Abd al-Wahid Bilqaziz (b. July 5, 1939, Marrakech, Morocco), foreign minister of Morocco (1983-85) and secretary-general of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (2001-04). He was also ambassador to Iraq (1977-79) and minister of information (1979-83).
Belkhadem, Abdelaziz, Arabic `Abd al-Aziz Bilkhadim (b. Nov. 8, 1945, Aflou, Laghouat wilaya, Algeria), president of the National Popular Assembly (1990-92), foreign minister (2000-05), and prime minister (2006-08) of Algeria.
Belkheir, Larbi, Arabic al-`Arabi Bilkhayr (b. 1938, Frenda, Algeria - d. Jan. 28, 2010, Algiers, Algeria), interior minister of Algeria (1991-92). Part of a generation of military officers who formed the bedrock of Algeria's ruling elite since independence in 1962, he was the senior adviser to President Chadli Bendjedid (served 1979-92) and also to President Abdelaziz Bouteflika during his first term (1999-2004). While he was interior minister, the radical Islamic Salvation Front was poised to win a legislative election and he was instrumental in having the election cancelled and in Bendjedid's replacement by an emergency Council of State. Soon after, a conflict began between security forces and armed Islamist rebels which killed an estimated 200,000 people. From 2005 he was ambassador to Morocco.
Belkhodja, Hassan, Arabic Hasan Bilkhwaja (b. March 10, 1916, Ras Jebel, northern Tunisia - d. Nov. 29, 1981), foreign minister of Tunisia (1980-81). He was also minister of economic affairs (1969-70), agriculture (1974-79), and transport and telecommunications (1979-80).
Belkic, Beriz (b. Sept. 8, 1946, Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina), premier of Sarajevo canton (1998-2001) and chairman of the Presidency (2002) and chairman of the House of Representatives (2007, 2009) of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Bell, Allan (Robert) (b. July 20, 1947, Isle of Man), chief minister of the Isle of Man (2011- ).
Bell, Douglas (Leslie Dewey) (b. June 15, 1926, Moose Jaw, Sask.), commissioner of Yukon Territory (1979-86). He joined the Royal Canadian Air Force in 1942. He served in the R.C.A.F. from 1943 to June 1945 as Sgt. Wireless Air Gunner. He became involved in the Yukon Sourdough Rendezvous Festival in 1969. He would announce the dog races as they were happening and continued to do so during his term as commissioner of Yukon. He soon gained the name of "the Voice of The Races." Besides all of the years that Bell assisted with the dog races, he also involved himself with many of the Main Street events, including the Flour Packing Contest. In addition to his work with the Sourdough Rendezvous Society, Bell served on the Board of Directors of the Yukon Quest, had a ten-year stint as chairman of the Steering Committee of the Federal Interdepartmental Coordinating Committee, and was also chairman of the Yukon Disaster Committee and Emergency Measures Organization for ten years. In 1975, he was elected to the Whitehorse City Council, and in July 1977, he was appointed deputy commissioner of Yukon. From there, he became administrator of Yukon (October 1979), and was appointed commissioner on Dec. 31, 1980. In 1986, Bell became chair of the newly formed Westmark Community Advisory Board, later referred to as the Holland America Community Advisory Board. On April 18, 1990, Bell was appointed to the Order of Canada.
Bell, Sir Francis Henry Dillon (b. March 31, 1851, Nelson, New Zealand - d. March 13, 1936, Lowry Bay, near Wellington, New Zealand), foreign minister (1923-26) and prime minister (1925) of New Zealand; knighted 1915. He was also mayor of Wellington (1891-93, 1896-97), minister of internal affairs (1912-15, 1920), immigration (1912-20), education and health (1919-20), marine (1921-22), and justice (1923), and attorney general (1918-26).
Bell, Sir (Henry) Hesketh (Joudou) (b. Dec. 17, 1864, West Indies - d. Aug. 1, 1952, London, England), administrator of Dominica (1899-1905), commissioner (1906-07) and governor (1907-09) of Uganda, and governor of Northern Nigeria (1909-12), the Leeward Islands (1912-16), and Mauritius (1916-24); knighted 1908.
Bell, John (b. Feb. 15, 1797, near Nashville, Tenn. - d. Sept. 10, 1869, near Cumberland Furnace, Tenn.), U.S. politician. He entered the U.S. House of Representatives in 1827 and served there as a Democrat until 1841; he was speaker in 1834-35. He broke with Pres. Andrew Jackson in 1834 in the fight over the Bank of the United States. In 1836 he supported Hugh Lawson White for president. After White's defeat Bell became a Whig and, in March 1841, as a reward for party services, was made secretary of war in Pres. William Henry Harrison's cabinet. A few months later, after the death of President Harrison, he resigned in opposition to Pres. John Tyler's break with the Whigs. After six years' retirement from political life, Bell was elected as a U.S. senator for Tennessee in 1847, serving until 1859. Although a large slaveholder, Bell opposed efforts to expand slavery to the U.S. territories. He vigorously opposed Pres. James K. Polk's Mexican War policy and voted against the Compromise of 1850, the Kansas-Nebraska bill (1854), and the attempt to admit Kansas as a slave state. Bell's temperate support of slavery combined with his vigorous defense of the Union brought him the presidential nomination of the moderate Constitutional Union party in 1860, but he carried only Virginia, Kentucky, and Tennessee. He initially opposed secession, but following Pres. Abraham Lincoln's call for troops, he advocated resistance and henceforth classed himself a rebel, though he took no active part in the Civil War.
Bell, Terrel H(oward) (b. Nov. 11, 1921, Lava Hot Springs, Idaho - d. June 22, 1996, Salt Lake City, Utah), U.S. secretary of education (1981-85). Bell served as commissioner of education under presidents Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, and Ronald Reagan before he was appointed as education secretary. He originally was appointed as secretary to phase out the Education Department, which was created by Pres. Jimmy Carter. Bell's leadership at the education department led to the "A Nation At Risk Report," which prompted a school reform movement to make education consistent with the demands of a modern-day market. The 1983 report found serious flaws in the nation's education system and concluded that schools were drowning in mediocrity.
Bell-Irving, Henry Pybus, byname Budge (b. Jan. 21, 1913, Vancouver - d. Sept. 21, 2002, Vancouver), lieutenant governor of British Columbia (1978-83). He led Canadian forces during the liberation of the Netherlands in World War II. He was an honorary chief of the Nisga'a Nation.
Bellal, Mohamed Vall Ould (b. 1949, Magta Lahjar, Brakna wilaya, Mauritania), foreign minister of Mauritania (2003-05). He was also ambassador to Senegal (2007-09) and Qatar (2009-11).
Bellerive, (Joseph) Jean-Max (b. 1958, Port-au-Prince, Haiti), prime minister of Haiti (2009-11). He was also minister of planning and external cooperation (2006-11) and justice and public security (2011).
Bellion, Dominique (Sylvain Gabriel) (b. Aug. 25, 1948, Saint-Flour, Cantal, France), prefect of Martinique (1998-2000). He was also prefect of the départements of Mayenne (1991-94), Aude (1994-98), Allier (2000-03), Dordogne (2003-05), Gard (2005-09), and Meurthe-et-Moselle (2009-11).
Bellmon, Henry (Louis) (b. Sept. 3, 1921, Tonkawa, Okla. - d. Sept. 29, 2009, Enid, Okla.), governor of Oklahoma (1963-67, 1987-91). He began his political career at age 25, when he was elected to the Oklahoma House of Representatives. The state's first Republican governor, he was credited with making the party a viable force in state politics. In 1967, he served as national chairman of the Nixon for President campaign. He then went on to win election to the U.S. Senate in 1968 and again in 1974. During his first term as a U.S. senator, he supported a federal court order that called for crosstown busing to achieve racial balance in Oklahoma City public schools. Many state newspapers criticized him for his stance. After concluding his second term in the U.S. Senate, Gov. George Nigh, a Democrat, called upon Bellmon to be interim director of the Oklahoma Department of Human Services, which was undergoing restructuring. In 1985, he was selected as receiver of the financially troubled National Cowboy Hall of Fame and Western Heritage in Oklahoma City. The following year, he decided to run for governor again at a time when the state was reeling from the effects of a major downturn in the petroleum industry and problems in the agricultural sector. With two of the state's largest industries in trouble, tax revenues declined and the state government faced painful layoffs and budget cuts. He proposed increasing various state taxes and fees, which put him at odds with fellow Oklahoma Republicans. At the end of his second term as governor, he saw passage of the Education Reform and Funding Act of 1990. The legislation called for an increase in funding for public schools by 27%, as well as smaller class sizes, compulsory kindergarten, and teacher incentive pay.
Belluzzi, Andrea (b. March 23, 1968, San Marino), captain-regent of San Marino (2015).
Belonogov, Aleksandr (Mikhailovich) (b. May 15, 1931, Moscow, Russian S.F.S.R.), Soviet/Russian diplomat. He was ambassador to Egypt (1984-86) and Canada (1992-98) and permanent representative to the United Nations (1986-90).
Belonogov, Anatoly (Nikolayevich) (b. Feb. 24, 1939), head of the administration of Amur oblast (1997-2001).
Beloyannis, Nikos (b. 1915, Amaliada, Ilia prefecture, Greece - d. March 30, 1952, near Athens), Greek communist. In 1934 he became a member of the Communist Party of Greece (KKE). From 1934 to 1936 he played an instrumental role in many party organizations all over Peloponnese. He was arrested in March and August 1936 for his revolutionary activities. In June 1937, he escaped but was rearrested in May 1938, when he was sentenced to 5 years imprisonment and 2 years exile. When the Germans invaded Greece in 1941, he was still in prison. He managed to escape in 1943. From that moment to the day of the liberation of Greece he was participating in the National Resistance in Patras, where he was the Political Commissar of the National People's Liberation Army (ELAS). During the civil war (1946-49) he played a political role in the Democratic Army of Greece (DSE). After the collapse of the Communist Front (Mount Grammos), he fled the country. In 1950 he was elected a member of the Central Committee of the KKE. He illegally returned to Greece, where he was arrested in December 1950. He was kept for more than a year in an isolated lightless cell. In the court martial, he demonstrated that the only reason he was about to be executed was his communist beliefs. On March 1, 1952, he and 7 others received the death sentence for espionage involving high treason. During a break in the trial, his companion, Elli Ioannidou, offered him a red carnation. The picture of the "man with the carnation" went around the world, and there were many unsuccessful demands for the conversion of his sentence. He was executed on a Sunday before dawn in the light thrown by headlights of fifteen clustered trucks; no outsider was permitted to approach within a quarter mile of the spot.
Belozertsev, Ivan (Aleksandrovich) (b. Sept. 15, 1958, Baranovo village, Oryol oblast, Russian S.F.S.R.), governor of Penza oblast (2015- ). He was mayor of Penza in 2004-12.
Beltrami, Vittorio (b. June 6, 1926, Omegna, Piemonte, Italy - d. Nov. 29, 2012), president of Piemonte (1985-90).
Beltrán (Mullin), (Jorge) Washington (b. April 6, 1914, Montevideo, Uruguay - d. Feb. 19, 2003, Montevideo), president of the National Council of Government of Uruguay (1965-66).
Beltrán Espantoso, Pedro Gerardo (b. Feb. 17, 1897, Lima, Peru - d. Feb. 16, 1979, Lima), Peruvian politician. In 1936 he helped organize the National Party, whose candidate lost that year's presidential election. After twice serving as president of Peru's Central Reserve Bank, he was ambassador to the U.S. (1944-46). He championed free commerce and urged an absolute minimum of government controls. In 1956, during the regime of Pres. Manuel Odría, Beltrán was jailed for one month on the island prison of El Frontón for advocating a relaxation of Odría's repressive rule. In 1959 he became prime minister and minister of finance when the Peruvian economy was edging toward disaster. With the country's inflation rate at 11%, Beltrán was appointed by Pres. Manuel Prado in a desperate move to rebuild the economy. During his two years as prime minister, Beltrán repaid Peru's debt of $14.5 million to the International Monetary Fund, cut inflation to 3%, and instituted a "free-exchange basis," which strengthened the country's foreign reserves and its balance of trade. In 1961 he made a bid for the presidency, but dropped those plans after his initial campaign rally attracted only a handful of supporters. He then resigned from the government and returned to editing La Prensa, an independent and influential Lima newspaper which he owned since 1934 but which was expropriated in 1974 by the military government of Pres. Juan Velasco Alvarado.
Beltrones Rivera, Manlio Fabio (b. Aug. 30, 1952, Villa Juárez, Sonora, Mexico), governor of Sonora (1991-97). He was also president of the Chamber of Deputies (2004-05) and the Senate (2006-07, 2010-11) of Mexico.
Belyakov, Aleksandr (Semyonovich) (b. May 20, 1945, Sortavala, Karelo-Finnish S.S.R. [now in Karelia, Russia]), governor of Leningrad oblast (1991-96).
Belyayev, Nikolay (Ilich) (b. Feb. 1 [Jan. 19, O.S.], 1903, Kuterem, Ufa province, Russia - d. Oct. 28, 1966, Moscow, Russian S.F.S.R.), first secretary of the Communist Party of the Kazakh S.S.R. (1957-60). He was also chairman of the Executive Committee of Altay kray (1943) and first secretary of the party committees of Altay (1943-55) and Stavropol (1960) kraya.
Belykh, Nikita (Yuryevich) (b. June 13, 1975, Perm, Russian S.F.S.R.), governor of Kirov oblast (2009- ). In 2005-08 he was leader of the opposition party Union of Rightist Forces.
Bém, Pavel (b. July 18, 1963, Prague, Czechoslovakia [now in Czech Republic]), mayor of Praha (2002-10).
Bemananjara, Jean (Andrianaribone) (b. Aug. 13, 1943, Toamasina, Madagascar - d. Jan. 15, 1997), foreign minister of Madagascar (1976, 1983-91). He was also minister of transport and supply (1975-76) and transport, supply, and tourism (1976-82).
Ben Abbes Taarji, Bachir (b. 1918), justice minister of Morocco (1972-74). He was also mayor of Marrakesh city (1969-70) and governor of Marrakesh (1972).
Ben Ali, (Prince) Said Ibrahim (b. April 17, 1911, Tananarive [now Antananarivo], Madagascar - d. Dec. 20, 1975, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia), finance minister (1957-58), president of the Territorial Assembly (1958-61), president of the Chamber of Deputies (1961-70), and president of the Government Council (1970-72) of the Comoros; son of Saidi Ali bin Saidi Omar. He was head of the royal family of Grande Comore in 1960-75.
Ben Ali, Salim (b. 1918? - d. 2002, Sharjah, United Arab Emirates), prime minister of the Comoros (1978-82). Before the islands' independence, he was minister of public works, supply, and transport (1959-69) and minister of economy and planning (1969-75). Before becoming prime minister, he served as president of the Supreme Court; he also was governor of Ngazidja. He died in his country of origin, Sharjah, after a long disease following a car accident which had occurred in the Comoros in 2001; his son repatriated him to the Comoros and he was buried in Moroni on Nov. 15, 2002.
Ben Ali, Zine El Abidine, Arabic Zayn al-`Abidin Bin `Ali (b. Sept. 3, 1936, Hammam-Sousse, eastern Tunisia), president of Tunisia (1987-2011). He came into the top government circles as head of military security (1964-74) and then became military attaché to Morocco (1974-77). He returned to become director of national security under the Hédi Nouira government, and in April 1980 he became Tunisian ambassador in Warsaw. Returning to Tunis in October 1984, he was appointed state secretary for national security and, a year later, a cabinet minister. He earned a reputation as a hardliner capable of establishing law and order; he demonstrated this ability while serving national security during the January 1978 riots and later after the 1984 bread riots. In April 1986 he became interior minister. Widespread support for him derived from his active role in rooting out the violent fundamentalist Islamic Tendency Movement, which in August 1987 planted bombs in tourist resorts. He was regarded as Pres. Habib Bourguiba's most suitable successor for some time, a view shared by Bourguiba himself, who appointed Ben Ali as prime minister in early October 1987. On Nov. 7, 1987, in a remarkably peaceful coup, engineered to make it constitutional, Ben Ali took over the presidency from Bourguiba, who was declared medically unfit to rule. Although Ben Ali and Bourguiba both strongly opposed the religious extremists, Ben Ali believed in a more moderate approach, and it was Bourguiba's decision to reopen the recently ended trial of 90 Islamic fundamentalists that prompted the coup. Ben Ali promised to permit an active role for most opposition parties in state affairs but the country remained under a de facto one-party system. He received more than 99% of the vote in elections in 1989, 1994, and 1999. He was OAU chairman in 1994-95. After a controversial constitutional referendum in 2002 allowing him to remain in office until 2014, he was reelected again in 2004 and 2009. In January 2011 he was forced by a popular uprising to flee the country, finding refuge in Saudi Arabia. In June 2011 he was sentenced in absentia to 35 years in prison for embezzlement, in July to another 15 years for illegal possession of arms, drugs, and archaeological artifacts, plus 16 years for real estate corruption, and in June 2012 to 20 years for inciting "murder and looting" during a police attempt to smuggle his nephew out of the country in the 2011 revolt.
Z. Ben Ali
Ben-Ami, Shlomo (b. July 17, 1943, Tangier, Morocco), foreign minister of Israel (2000-01). He served as Israel's ambassador to Spain from 1987 to 1991. Elected to the Knesset in 1996, he served as a member of the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee and of the Subcommittee on Foreign Service. In July 1999 he was appointed minister of public security. In August 2000, after the resignation of David Levy, he was named acting foreign minister, and in November 2000 foreign minister, while continuing to serve as minister of public security. He left office in 2001, refusing to serve under Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.
Ben Ammar, Tahar, Arabic Tahar Bin `Ammar (b. Nov. 25, 1885, Tunis - d. May 10, 1985), prime minister of Tunisia (1954-56).
Ben Barka, Mehdi, Arabic al-Mihdi Bin Barka (b. January 1920, Rabat, Morocco - d. Oct. 31?, 1965, Fontenay-le-Vicomte?, Essonne, France), Moroccan politician. An early nationalist, he joined the Comité d'Action Marocaine and later was one of the founding members of the Istiqlal party and political director of its weekly publication. He signed the Istiqlal manifesto on Jan. 11, 1944, demanding an end to the French protectorate, an act for which he was gaoled. Upon release in October 1954, he was responsible for building his party into a mass movement. He was exiled to southern Morocco in March 1951 when the party's activities were suspended and Sultan Muhammad V sent to Madagascar. After the sultan's return, Ben Barka was appointed president of the National Consultative Assembly in 1956. After independence, Ben Barka clashed with the conservative elements of the Istiqlal party and left to found the Union Nationale des Forces Populaires in 1959. He continued to criticize the government and successfully contested National Assembly elections in 1962. Soon after, he was forced to leave Morocco when a plot to assassinate King Hassan II was discovered. He was sentenced to death in absentia. In exile, he travelled widely, representing his party until his mysterious disappearance on Oct. 29, 1965. Stopped on the Boulevard Saint-Germain in Paris by two French policemen, he was shown their police cards and asked to follow them. He was taken in a police car to Fontenay-le-Vicomte (south of Paris) and never seen again in public. He is presumed to have been killed, though the circumstances are still unclear today. It is supposed that his abduction was masterminded by members of the Moroccan police and the then Moroccan interior minister Gen. Muhammad Oufkir.
Ben Bella, (Mohammed) Ahmed (Arabic Muhammad Ahmad Bin Balla), also known as Hemmimed, Abdelkader Mebtouche, or Messaoud Mezziani (b. Dec. 25, 19181, Maghnia [Marnia], Algeria - d. April 11, 2012, Algiers, Algeria), prime minister (1962-63) and president (1963-65) of Algeria. He joined Messali Hadj's underground movement, and after Gov. Marcel Edmond Naegelen rigged elections in 1948 he became one of those Algerians who considered illusory any hope of achieving independence democratically. With his friends in Messali Hadj's party, he founded the Organisation Spéciale (OS), whose aim was to take up arms as quickly as possible. After robbing the post office at Oran (1950) to obtain funds for the nationalist movement, he was sentenced to prison, but he managed to escape after serving only two years of his term, and went underground again. In November 1954 he and other leaders decided to create the National Liberation Front (FLN) and to order an armed insurrection against the French colonists. In 1956 he was arrested by the French military authorities. When he was freed in 1962, the leaders of the FLN had formed a conservative provisional government, while the party's congress at Tripoli had elected a socialist-oriented government. It was this latter "Bureau Politique" that Ben Bella ran. He was elected president unopposed in 1963. He reestablished order and inaugurated a series of major agrarian reforms. On June 19, 1965, he was deposed in a coup led by Houari Boumedienne and was detained. Following Boumedienne's death in 1978, restrictions on Ben Bella were eased in July 1979, though he remained under house arrest. On Oct. 30, 1980, he was freed. He spent 10 years in exile, forming an opposition movement in Paris in 1984. He was allowed to return to Algeria on Sept. 27, 1990.
1 His official birthday was Dec. 25, 1916. His father (Embarek Ben Madjoub, a small farmer who had just lost his elder son, knowing that he would need assistance in the fields) made him older so that he could finish his studies earlier.
Ben-Gurion, David, original name David Gruen (b. Oct. 16, 1886, Plonsk, Russia [now in Poland] - d. Dec. 1, 1973, Tel Aviv-Yafo, Israel), prime minister of Israel (1948-53, 1955-63). In 1906 Gruen arrived in Palestine, where he adopted the ancient Hebrew name Ben-Gurion. With the outbreak of World War I, the Turkish governors of Palestine, their suspicions aroused by his Zionist activity, expelled him from the Ottoman Empire. In 1920 he and others founded the Histadrut, the confederation of Jewish workers in Palestine, and he was elected its first secretary-general. In 1930, a number of labour factions united and founded Mapai, the Israeli Workers Party, with Ben-Gurion at its head. In 1935 he was elected chairman of the Zionist Executive, the highest directing body of world Zionism, and head of the Jewish Agency, the movement's executive branch. At the end of World War II he led the Jewish community in its successful struggle against the British mandate; and in May 1948, in accordance with a decision of the UN General Assembly, the State of Israel was established. He became prime minister and defense minister. He succeeded in breaking up the underground armies that had fought the British and in fusing them into a national army, which became an effective force against the invading Arab armies. He temporarily retired from office in 1953-55. In June 1963 he unexpectedly resigned for unnamed "personal reasons." His move apparently resulted in part from a bitter controversy within the party, which led him in 1965 to leave Mapai with a number of his supporters and to found a small opposition party, Rafi, at the head of which he fought, with little success, against his successor, Levi Eshkol. In 1970 he retired from all political activity.
Ben Halim, (Sayyid) Mustafa (Ahmed), Arabic (Sayyid) Mustafa (Ahmad) Bin Halim (b. Jan. 23, 1921, Alexandria, Egypt), prime minister (1954-57) and foreign minister (1954-57) of Libya. He was also ambassador to France (1958-60).
Ben Khedda, Benyoucef, Arabic Bin Yusuf Bin Khadda (b. Feb. 23, 1920, Berrouaghia, Algeria - d. Feb. 4, 2003, Algiers), president of the Provisional Government of the Algerian Republic (1961-62).
Ben Marofo, Azaly (b. Oct. 24, 1946, Mahajanga, Madagascar), foreign minister of Madagascar (2002). He fled to the Comoros in July 2002 and was arrested when he came back on May 18, 2003. He was sentenced to five years in prison on Aug. 29, 2003, for "attacking the interior safety of the state and violence against the Merina and Betsileo peoples." He was pardoned and released on Jan. 22, 2004.
Ben Mustapha, Said, Arabic Sa`id Bin Mustafa (b. July 28, 1938), foreign minister of Tunisia (1997-99). He earlier served as ambassador to Lebanon (1982-85), Jordan (1985-88), and Italy (1997). In 2000-01 he was Tunisia's permanent representative to the United Nations.
Ben Osman, Lassaad (b. Feb. 16, 1926, Tunis, Tunisia - d. March 20, 2015), Tunisian politician. He was minister of public works (1970-71), communications (1973-74), supply (1974-79), and agriculture (1979-89).
Ben Yahia, Habib, Arabic al-Habib Bin Yahya (b. July 30, 1938, Tunis, Tunisia), foreign minister (1991-97, 1999-2004) and defense minister (1997-99) of Tunisia and secretary-general of the Arab Maghreb Union (2006- ). He was also ambassador to the United Arab Emirates (1976-77), Japan (1977-81), and the United States (1981-88).
Ben-Zvi, Yitzhak, original name Isaac Shimshelevich (b. Nov. 24, 1884, Poltava, Russia [now in Ukraine] - d. April 23, 1963, Jerusalem), president of Israel (1952-63). A Zionist from his youth, he played a leading role in Poale Zion, a Zionist socialist organization. He settled in Palestine in 1907 and was a co-founder of ha-Shomer, a self-defense organization for Jewish agricultural settlements. In 1909 he founded in Jerusalem the first Hebrew high school in Palestine. When the Turks exiled him from Palestine in 1915, he made his way to the United States, where he and David Ben-Gurion founded Hehalutz, a Zionist pioneer youth organization. They returned in 1918 as soldiers of the Jewish Legion in the British Royal Fusiliers. He helped create the Histadrut, the General Federation of Labour, which became the dominant labour organization in Israel, and served as a member of its secretariat from 1920 to 1929. In the latter year he and Ben-Gurion founded the Mapai party, which became the leading political force in the country. One of the creators of Vaad Leumi, the Jewish National Council representing 90% of the Jewish community during the British mandate in Palestine (1920-48), Ben-Zvi served as the council's chairman from 1931 to 1944 and as its president from 1944 to 1949. He signed Israel's Declaration of Independence on May 14, 1948, and was elected to the Knesset the following year. He became president of Israel after the death of Chaim Weizmann in 1952 and held the position until his own death. Also a noted scholar of Middle Eastern history and archaeology, he founded the Institute for Research of Jewish Middle Eastern Communities (later named the Ben-Zvi Institute) in 1948 and directed it until 1960.
Benachenhou, Mourad (b. July 30, 1938, Tlemcen, Algeria), economy minister of Algeria (1993-94). He was also minister of industrial restructuring and participation (1994-96) and industry and restructuring (1996).
Benaissa, Mohamed, Arabic Muhammad Bin `Ayisa (b. Jan. 3, 1937, Asilah, Morocco), foreign minister of Morocco (1999-2007). Earlier he was culture minister (1985-92) and ambassador to the United States (1993-99).
Benavides Escobar, César Raúl (b. 1912 - d. March 25, 2011, Santiago, Chile), interior minister (1974-78) and defense minister (1978-80) of Chile. He was the army's representative on the military junta in 1981-85.
Benavides Larrea, Óscar Raymundo (b. March 15, 1876, Lima, Peru - d. July 2, 1945, Lima), president of Peru (1914-15, 1933-39). He was also minister to Italy (1917-20), Spain (1931-32), and the United Kingdom (1932-33) and ambassador to Spain (1940-41) and Argentina (1941-44).
Benbitour, Ahmed, Arabic Ahmad Bin Bitur (b. June 20, 1946, Metlili, Ghardaia wilaya, Algeria), prime minister of Algeria (1999-2000). He was also minister of energy (1993-94) and finance (1994-96).
Bender, Arthur (b. 1919 - d. Oct. 27, 2002, Fully, Valais, Switzerland), president of the Council of State of Valais (1969-70, 1974-75).
Bendjedid, Chadli, Arabic al-Shadhili Bin Jadid (b. April 14, 1929, Sebaa, near Annaba, Algeria - d. Oct. 6, 2012, Algiers, Algeria), president of Algeria (1979-92). He adopted the nom de guerre Chadli (Arabic Shadhili) when he became a soldier in the Algerian liberation movement (FLN) in the 1950s. He rose through the ranks of the guerrilla forces in Wiliya (military region) 2, becoming commander of the 13th Battalion on the Tunisian frontier in 1960. Later he joined the staff of Col. Houari Boumedienne on the Moroccan border. In 1962, shortly after Algeria won independence, he joined Boumedienne and Ahmed Ben Bella in overthrowing the Ben Khedda provisional government. He then restored order in the old Wiliya 2 area and was appointed commander of the Constantine military region in 1963. In 1964 he took over command of the Oran military region and was instrumental in Boumedienne's coup against President Ben Bella in June 1965. After the coup, Bendjedid was appointed to the Revolutionary Council, but his main concern was to ensure his control over the Oran military command. In 1969 he was promoted to the rank of colonel. He served as minister of defense from November 1978 to February 1979, when he assumed the presidency, following the death of Boumedienne. As president, Bendjedid stressed agricultural production and consumer goods, increasing the role of the private sector in Algeria's economy. He was reelected in 1984 and 1988. In 1989, in response to popular protests, he introduced a variety of democratic reforms, but these failed to satisfy an increasingly assertive Islamic fundamentalist movement. When the fundamentalists gained a resounding victory in elections held on Dec. 28, 1991, Bendjedid's position was weakened, and he was eased out of office by Algerian military leaders on Jan. 12, 1992.
Benedetti, Jean (Baptiste Antoine) (b. June 3, 1902, Marseille, France - d. May 5, 1981, Paris, France), prefect of Seine département (1958-63). He was also prefect of Vaucluse (1943-44), Côte-d'Or (1945-46), Oise (1946-49), Ille-et-Vilaine (1949-55), and Nord (1955-58).
Benedettini, Ernesto (b. March 5, 1948, San Marino), captain-regent of San Marino (1992, 2008-09).
Benedictus XVI, English Benedict XVI, original name Joseph (Alois) Ratzinger (b. April 16, 1927, Marktl am Inn, Bayern, Germany), pope of the Roman Catholic Church (2005-13). As a boy he was forced to join the Hitler Youth but he said he took as little part in it as possible. Drafted into the German anti-aircraft corps during World War II, he deserted as the Allied front drew closer. He was ordained a priest on June 29, 1951. An intellectual, he became a university professor in 1958. His career in theological academia (in Freising, Bonn, Münster, Tübingen, and Regensburg) lasted until March 1977, when Pope Paulus VI named him archbishop of Munich and Freising. A few months later, on June 27, he was elevated to cardinal. After Ioannes Paulus II began his reign in 1978, Ratzinger soon gained his favour. The two shared conservative views on abortion, pregnancy counseling, and women in the church. Ratzinger was appointed prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith on Nov. 25, 1981. He resigned the Munich archdiocese in 1982 and was appointed cardinal-bishop of Velletri-Segni in 1993 and cardinal-bishop of Ostia and dean of the College of Cardinals in 2002. He spoke out against abortion many times, calling it a "culture of death." Throughout the 1980s he disciplined Latin American "liberation" theologists, who posit that the church should draw its strength from political activism relating to the poor. In 2000 he wrote a controversial document called Dominus Iesus in which he asserted the superiority of the Catholic Church over other Christian churches. As the pope's "enforcer" on matters of orthodoxy, he was nicknamed the "Panzerkardinal." After the death of Ioannes Paulus II, Ratzinger was elected as the first German pope in centuries. Eight years later he also became the first pope in modern times to resign, saying he no longer had the strength required to fulfill his duties. He then took the title of "pope emeritus."
Benediktov, Ivan (Aleksandrovich) (b. April 5 [March 23, O.S.], 1902, Kostroma province, Russia - d. July 28, 1983), Soviet politician. He was people's commissar of state farms (1937-38) and minister of agriculture (1957-59) of the Russian S.F.S.R., people's commissar/minister of agriculture (1938-43, 1946-53, 1953-55) and state farms (1955-57) of the U.S.S.R., and Soviet ambassador to India (1953, 1959-67) and Yugoslavia (1967-70).
Benediktsson, Bjarni (b. April 30, 1908, Reykjavík, Iceland - d. July 10, 1970, Thingvellir, Iceland), foreign minister (1947-53) and prime minister (1963-70) of Iceland. He was also mayor of Reykjavík (1940-47), minister of justice (1947-56, 1959-63), education (1949-50, 1953-56), and industry (1959-63), and president of the Althing (1959). He died with his wife and a grandson in a fire which destroyed the government summer residence at Thingvellir.
Benes, Edvard (b. May 28, 1884, Kozlany, Bohemia, Austria-Hungary [now in Czech Republic] - d. Sept. 3, 1948, Sezimovo Ústí, Czechoslovakia [now in Czech Republic]), president of Czechoslovakia (1935-38, 1945-48). In the years before the outbreak of World War I, he came under the influence of Tomás Garrigue Masaryk, who wished to detach Czechoslovakia from the tottering Habsburg empire. He followed his mentor to Switzerland during the war and then moved to Paris. With Masaryk and Slovak leader Milan Stefánik he formed what eventually became a Czechoslovak provisional government on Oct. 14, 1918. With the collapse of Austria-Hungary in November 1918, a Czechoslovak state was quickly formed. He was foreign minister from 1918 to 1935, and in 1921-22 also prime minister. He headed his country's delegation to the Paris Peace Conference in 1919 and championed the League of Nations. With the resignation of Masaryk as president in 1935, Benes was elected to that office. Relations with Poland and Germany steadily worsened. Abandoned by his allies, he capitulated before a German ultimatum and had to cede the Sudetenland in September 1938; Poland soon occupied the disputed Teschen area. Resigning on Oct. 5, 1938, he went into exile. By October 1939 he had formed a National Committee, which on July 21, 1940, was recognized by the Allies as a provisional government. Reestablishing a government on his native soil on April 3, 1945, he realized that Czechoslovakia had to cooperate closely with the Soviet Union. He tried to preserve parliamentary democracy, but when his Communist prime minister, Klement Gottwald, demanded on Feb. 25, 1948, that Benes accept a Communist-dominated cabinet, he again had no choice but to capitulate. Refusing to sign the new constitution, he resigned on June 7.
Benflis, Ali, Arabic `Ali Bin Flis (b. Sept. 8, 1944, Batna, Algeria), prime minister of Algeria (2000-03). He was also justice minister (1988-91) and a presidential candidate (2014).
Benhabyles, Abdelmalek, Arabic `Abd al-Malik Bin Habilis (b. February 1921, Arbaoun, Sétif wilaya, Algeria), chairman of the Constitutional Council of Algeria (1989-95) and as such acting head of state in 1992. He was also ambassador to Japan (1964-67) and Tunisia (1967-70) and justice minister (1977-79).
Benhamouda, Boualem (b. March 8, 1933, Cherchell, Algeria), interior minister (1980-82) and finance minister (1982-86) of Algeria. He was also minister of ex-servicemen (1965-70), justice (1970-77), and public works (1977-79).
Benhima, Ahmed Taibi, Arabic Ahmad Taybi Binhima (b. 1927 - d. Nov. 30, 1980), foreign minister of Morocco (1964-66, 1972-74); brother of Mohamed Benhima.
Benhima, Mohamed (Taibi), Arabic Muhammad Taybi Binhima (b. June 25, 1924, Safi, Morocco - d. Nov. 23, 1992, Rabat, Morocco), prime minister (1967-69) and interior minister (1972-73, 1977-79) of Morocco. He was also minister of public works (1961-62, 1963-65) and education (1965-67).
Benites Vinueza, Leopoldo (b. Oct. 17, 1905, Guayaquil, Ecuador - d. March 7, 1995, Guayaquil), president of the UN General Assembly (1973-74). He was also Ecuadorian minister to Uruguay (1947-52), ambassador to Bolivia (1954-56), Argentina (1956), Uruguay (1956-60), and Mexico (1982-86), and permanent representative to the UN (1960-76).
Benítez (Inchausti), Gregorio, also spelled Benites, foreign minister of Paraguay (1872-73). He was also chargé d'affaires in the United Kingdom and France (1867-71) and minister to the U.K., France, Germany, Italy, and the Vatican (1872-74).
Benítez (Coronel), Justo Pastor (b. May 28, 1895, Asunción, Paraguay - d. Feb. 6, 1963, Asunción), foreign minister of Paraguay (1932-34, 1940). He was also chargé d'affaires in Italy (1925-27) and minister to Brazil (1934-36) and Bolivia (1938-39).
Benítez (Vargas), Rogelio (Raimundo), interior minister of Paraguay (2005-07).
Beniwal, Kamla, often just called Kamla (b. Jan. 12, 1927, Gorir village [now in Jhunjhunu district, Rajasthan], India), governor of Tripura (2009), Gujarat (2009-14), and Mizoram (2014).
Benjamin (Bil), Barnaba Marial, foreign minister of South Sudan (2013- ). He was also Sudanese minister of international cooperation (2005-06) and South Sudanese minister of regional cooperation (2006-09), commerce and industry (2009-10), and information and broadcasting (2010-13).
Benjamin, Charlie, governor of Manus (2012- ). He was also Papua New Guinean minister of labour and employment (2000-01) and lands and physical planning (2001-02).
Benjamin, John (Oponjo) (b. Nov. 29, 1952, Segbwema, eastern Sierra Leone), chairman of the Council of State Secretaries (1992) and finance minister (2005-07) of Sierra Leone.
Benjamin, Raymond (b. Nov. 24, 1945, Alexandria, Egypt), secretary-general of the International Civil Aviation Organization (2009-15).
Benjelloun, Ali (b. 1927, Morocco), justice minister of Morocco (1967). He was also ambassador to the United States and Canada (1962-65).
Benkhalfa, Abderrahmane (b. July 2, 1949, Tiaret, Algeria), finance minister of Algeria (2015- ).
Benkirane, Abdelilah, Arabic `Abd al-Ilah Binkiran (b. 1954, Rabat, Morocco), prime minister of Morocco (2011- ).
Benmansour, Mostefa (b. Nov. 17, 1944, El Keurt, Algeria), interior minister of Algeria (1995-98). He was also wali of El Bayadh (1989-90), Tizi Ouzou (1991-94), and Annaba (1994-95).
Benmehidi, Mourad (b. Feb. 1, 1953, Annaba, Algeria), Algerian diplomat. He was permanent representative to the United Nations (2008-14).
Benn, Tony, byname of Anthony Neil Wedgwood Benn, also called (1960-63) (2nd) Viscount Stansgate (b. April 3, 1925, London, England - d. March 14, 2014, London), British politician. His father was a Liberal and then a Labour MP who ended up in the House of Lords as Viscount Stansgate. Benn, a fierce critic of the British class system, inherited the peerage and waged a long fight to rid himself of a title that disqualified him from sitting in the House of Commons. He was the youngest MP when first elected to Parliament in 1950. He was postmaster general (1964-66), minister of technology (1966-70), secretary of state for industry and minister for posts and telecommunications (1974-75), and secretary of state for energy (1975-79). During the 1970s he became the most influential of left-wing thinkers in the Labour Party. He set out his ideas in the book Arguments for Socialism (1979). In the turmoil that divided the Labour Party in 1980, Benn emerged as the acknowledged if still unofficial leader of the party's radical populist left. He did not contest the election of a new party leader after the resignation of James Callaghan. His reason was that he had been instrumental in persuading the Labour Party conference in October to abandon the traditional practice of having the new leader elected by Labour MPs in favour of a new electoral college system that would give a voice to grass-roots party activists and trade unionists. He preferred to wait for the electoral system to be set up. He could expect greater support from the grass roots than from his fellow MPs who, in fact, failed to reelect him to the "shadow cabinet" in December. In 1981 he narrowly lost a bid for deputy leader. He lost his parliamentary seat in 1983, but returned in a by-election in 1984 and remained until retiring in 2001.
Bennett, Gordon Lockhart (b. Oct. 10, 1912, Charlottetown, P.E.I. - d. Feb. 11, 2000), lieutenant governor of Prince Edward Island (1974-80).
Bennett, John O(rus, III) (b. Aug. 6, 1948), acting governor of New Jersey (2002).
Bennett (of Mickleham and of Calgary and Hopewell), Richard Bedford Bennett, Viscount (b. July 3, 1870, Hopewell, N.B., Canada - d. June 27, 1947, Mickleham, Surrey, England), prime minister of Canada (1930-35). His first foray into politics was as alderman in Chatham, N.B., in 1896. In 1898 he won a seat in the new assembly for the Northwest Territories. An attempt to enter federal politics in 1900 failed, as did efforts to win a seat in Alberta's new provincial assembly in 1905. In 1909 he won a Conservative seat in the provincial legislature, and in 1911 he entered the Canadian House of Commons, representing Calgary, Alberta. He became director general of national service (1916), justice minister (1921), and finance minister (1926). Elected leader of the Conservative Party in 1927, he won the 1930 election with promises to vigorously combat the effects of the Great Depression. But he underestimated the severity of the Depression, and his measures to combat widespread unemployment amounted merely to slightly strengthened tariffs and some measures for unemployment relief. After the economy had languished for four years, he proposed a bold legislative program in January 1935 that resembled the New Deal put forth in the United States by Pres. Franklin D. Roosevelt. But Bennett's proposals aroused distrust in his own party and failed to counter the public's resentment over his previous laissez-faire policies, and in the October 1935 election he was overwhelmingly defeated by W.L. Mackenzie King and the Liberals. He remained as leader of the opposition until 1938, and in 1939 he retired to England, where he was made a viscount in 1941 (the peerage became extinct when he died, unmarried). He is the only Canadian prime minister not buried in Canada.
Bennett, Robert F(rederick) (b. May 23, 1927, Kansas City, Mo. - d. Oct. 9, 2000, Kansas City, Mo.), governor of Kansas (1975-79). His first election to public office was in 1955 when he became a member of the Prairie Village City Council. Two years later he was elected mayor. He won a seat in the state senate in 1965 and was elected its president in 1973, serving in that capacity until he assumed the office of governor in January 1975. The eloquent Johnson Countian enjoyed shaping government more than seeking political office. He was noted for his intelligence and quick wit. His administration is remembered for its focus on education and highways. "He did not like all of the games that you had to go through for election, and that's the very reason that he was not reelected to a second term," said state Sen. Dick Bond of Overland Park, who called Bennett one of his mentors. "But he was a brilliant governor, a student of government. No one worked harder." He did not seek elective office after losing his reelection bid to Democrat John Carlin. He considered a political comeback in 1986 but opted against running for governor that year. In 1990 Gov. Mike Hayden appointed Bennett to head the Governor's Property Tax Review Commission to study the merits of the state's tax system. The Kansas Supreme Court presented him with its annual Justice Award in 1997 for his contributions to the improvement of the administration of justice in the state. In the fall of 1997 the chief justice of the Kansas Supreme Court, Kay McFarland, named the former governor co-chairman of a commission created to conduct a sweeping examination of the state's judicial system, the first since 1974.
Bennett, William (John), byname Bill Bennett (b. July 31, 1943, Brooklyn, N.Y.), U.S. secretary of education (1985-88). The former Democrat joined the Republican Party in 1986. Bennett made headlines with his outspoken criticism of the U.S. educational system. His forceful personality brought an unheard-of visibility to the Department of Education. Before he resigned on Sept. 20, 1988, he stated, "The one thing that I did not want said was that education reform fizzled out on my watch. We were true to the movement to reform schools in this country. Boy, were we true to it." On Jan. 12, 1989, he was named director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy by U.S. President-elect George Bush. He was given six months to prepare a report to Congress outlining his plans for a national drug strategy. Bennett was so successful in gaining the president's support that in Bush's first nationwide presidential address on September 5, Bennett's drug strategy was outlined. Key points included in the $7.9 billion antidrug package were specific goals for reducing drug use, financing antidrug efforts at the source (Colombia, Bolivia, and Peru), and placing more emphasis on individual accountability for drug use in schools and workplaces. Bennett allocated nearly 70% of the money for enforcement and earmarked the rest for prevention, education, and treatment. The one issue he refused to consider was legalizing drugs. He left the government in 1990 and in 1993 co-founded Empower America; as co-director of this Republican-oriented organization he was highly visible in the media.
Bennett, William Andrew Cecil (b. Sept. 6, 1900, Hastings, N.B., Canada - d. Feb. 23, 1979, Kelowna, B.C., Canada), premier of British Columbia (1952-72).
Bennett, William Richards, byname Bill Bennett (b. April 14, 1932, Kelowna, B.C. - d. Dec. 3, 2015, Kelowna), premier of British Columbia (1975-86). The son of the wildly popular B.C. premier William Andrew Cecil Bennett, the actively political Bill Bennett seemed destined to follow in his father's footsteps. After the senior Bennett retired from politics in 1973, Bennett ran to replace his father in the vacant Okanagan South riding. After he won a seat in the legislature, he was promptly elected leader of the Social Credit party, and went on to become a somewhat bumbling opposition leader against the popular New Democratic Party Premier David Barrett. Bennett helped summon up support for his right-wing Social Credit movement by polarizing B.C. politics and welcoming both Liberal and Conservative MLAs into his party. In 1975 Premier Barrett called an election and was soundly defeated by Bennett's newly formed Socred coalition. As premier, Bennett was quieter than his flamboyant father, but also was faced with severe infighting and several scandals from within his own party. On the national level, he gained attention by campaigning strongly in favour of provincial rights during the creation of the Canadian constitution, and was supported by many other Canadian premiers. He launched a series of megaprojects designed to stimulate the economy, including the Expo 86 world's fair, a rapid transit system (Skytrain) for the lower mainland, and the Coquihalla Highway. All these measures were highly controversial, especially combined with cuts to social services. His confrontational style cost him voter support and he resigned in 1986 assuming that he could not win another election.
Benno, Shamil (Aminovich) (b. July 9, 1958, Jordan), foreign minister of Chechnya (1991-92).
Benoit (Vanderhorst), Pedro Bartolomé (b. Feb. 13, 1921, Samaná, Dominican Republic - d. April 6, 2012, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic), chairman of the military junta of the Dominican Republic (1965).
Benoît, (Pierre Marie) François (b. May 2, 1936, Les Cayes, Haiti), foreign minister of Haiti (1992-93).
Bens Argandoña, Francisco (b. 1867, Cuba - d. April 5, 1949), governor of Río de Oro (1903-25).
Bensch, (Jean) Émile (Henri) (b. Feb. 1, 1868, Cuzorn, Lot-et-Garonne, France - d. 1944), governor of Saint-Pierre and Miquelon (1923-27). He was kidnapped on Sept. 15, 1944, in his home of Nomdieu, Lot-et-Garonne, and his body was never found.
Benson, Edgar (John) (b. May 28, 1923, Cobourg, Ont. - d. Sept. 2, 2011), finance minister (1968-72) and defense minister (1972) of Canada. He was ambassador to Ireland in 1982-85.
Benson, Ezra Taft (b. Aug. 4, 1899, Whitney, Idaho - d. May 30, 1994, Salt Lake City, Utah), U.S. secretary of agriculture (1953-61) and president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (1985-94). He was the great-grandson of Ezra T. Benson, a Mormon pioneer who trekked to the valley of the Great Salt Lake in 1847 with Brigham Young after church founder Joseph Smith was slain in Illinois. He was also distantly related to Pres. William Howard Taft. In 1939 he accepted an offer to become executive secretary of the National Council of Farmer's Cooperatives. He gained national prominence when he was designated as secretary of agriculture by Pres. Dwight D. Eisenhower on Nov. 24, 1952, and took office on Jan. 21, 1953. He became the first Mormon to attain cabinet status. He was unsuccessful, however, in his effort to strengthen family farms; his policies, in fact, bolstered big operators, who received larger payments for taking farmland out of production. During the 1960s and '70s, Benson aroused controversy both inside and outside the church by endorsing the right-wing John Birch Society, by accusing the civil-rights movement of advancing Communist causes, and by criticizing the women's movement. In 1980 he angered liberal Mormons when he declared in a speech that the church might begin endorsing political candidates, something it had not done since its leaders told Mormons to choose Pres. Herbert Hoover over his Democratic challenger, Franklin D. Roosevelt, in 1932. Benson's ascent to the presidency of the Council of the Twelve Apostles in 1973 assured his elevation to the presidency of the Mormon church in 1985 upon the death of Spencer Kimball. He rarely appeared in public since being stricken by a severe illness in 1989.
Benson, Stephen Allen (b. May 21, 1816, Maryland, U.S. - d. 1865), president of Liberia (1856-64).
Bentín (y La Fuente), Antonio (b. 1826 - d. Dec. 30, 1897), prime minister and interior and police minister of Peru (1895).
Bentinck tot Buckhorst, Berend Hendrik baron (b. Nov. 16, 1753, Raalte, Overijssel, Netherlands - d. Sept. 24, 1830, Zwolle, Overijssel), governor of Overijssel (1814-30).
Bentinck van Nijenhuis, Arnold Adolf baron (b. April 17, 1798, Heino, Netherlands - d. March 2, 1868, London, England), foreign minister of the Netherlands (1848). He was also minister to Württemberg, Bavaria, and Baden (1841-45), Belgium (1845-48, 1848-51), and the United Kingdom (1851-68).
Bentsen, Lloyd (Millard, Jr.) (b. Feb. 11, 1921, Mission, Texas - d. May 23, 2006, Houston, Texas), U.S. politician. He joined the U.S. Army, became a commissioned pilot, served in combat, and in 1945 was discharged as a colonel. He was a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from 1949 to 1955, voting with most other Texas Democrats except for his support of a bill to end poll taxes. In 1970 he ran for the U.S. Senate. In the Democratic primary he defeated Ralph Yarborough, considered an antibusiness liberal, and in the general election he defeated the Republican candidate, George Bush. Reelected to the Senate in 1976 and 1982, he became chairman of the Finance Committee in 1987. He gained respect as a fund-raiser, although his decision in early 1987 to have breakfast with lobbyists who contributed to his reelection campaign raised ethical questions. Though called a conservative, he voted as often as not with the majority of Democratic senators. On July 12, 1988, Michael Dukakis, already certain of the Democratic nomination for president, announced that Bentsen would be his nominee for vice-president. On July 21 the Democratic national convention nominated him by acclamation. The choice was a surprise because of his reputation as a conservative, but he emerged from the often nasty campaign as probably the least disliked national candidate and demonstrated his skills as a public speaker, persuader, and fund-raiser. Although the Democratic ticket lost on November 8, he was allowed by Texas law to run as both a national and a state candidate and was elected to his fourth term in the U.S. Senate. He remained a senator until 1993 when Pres. Bill Clinton appointed him secretary of the treasury. He left the cabinet at the end of 1994.
Bentsen, Niels (b. March 10, 1936, Copenhagen, Denmark), high commissioner of the Faeroe Islands (1981-88).
Benyahia, Mohamed Seddik, Arabic Muhammad Siddiq Bin Yahya (b. Jan. 30, 1932, Djidjelli [now Jijel], eastern Algeria - d. May 3, 1982, on the Iraq-Iran border), foreign minister of Algeria (1979-82). He became president of the Union of Algerian Muslim Students at the University of Algiers and was an early member of the Front de Libération Nationale (FLN). He represented the FLN in Indonesia in 1956 and later in London during the struggle for Algerian independence. He played a significant role as a member of the negotiating team that achieved the agreement with France on independence at Évian in 1962 and was a member of the committee that drafted the FLN's "Tripoli Charter," setting out the political bases of the new socialist state. He later served as his country's first ambassador to the U.S.S.R. (1963-65), as ambassador to the United Kingdom (1965-66), and as minister of information (1966-70), higher education and scientific research (1970-77), and finance (1977-79), before becoming foreign minister. He played a major role in securing the release of the U.S. hostages held after the seizure on Nov. 4, 1979, of the U.S. embassy in Iran. He died in a plane crash.
Beran, Rudolf (b. Dec. 28, 1887, Strakonice [now in Czech Republic] - d. Feb. 28, 1954, Prague), prime minister of Czechoslovakia (1938-39).
Bérard, Armand (b. May 2, 1904, Paris, France - d. Nov. 20, 1989, Neuilly-sur-Seine, France), French diplomat. He was ambassador to Japan (1956-59) and Italy (1962-67) and permanent representative to the United Nations (1959-62, 1967-70).
Bérard, Jean (Louis Philippe) (b. 1910 - d. Feb. 4, 1999), commissioner (1955-56) and high commissioner (1956-57) of Togo.
Berardi, Fabio (b. May 26, 1959, Borgo Maggiore, San Marino), captain-regent (2001) and secretary of state for foreign and political affairs (2003-06) of San Marino. He was also minister of territory, environment, and agriculture (2001-03), health and social security (2006-07), and tourism, sport, and economic planning (2008-12).
Beratha, Dewa (Made) (b. July 12, 1941, Gianyar, Bali, Netherlands East Indies [now Indonesia]), governor of Bali (1998-2008).
Béraudier, Charles (b. 1920 - d. Oct. 16, 1988), president of the Regional Council of Rhône-Alpes (1981-88).
Berber, Alberto F(lores) (b. July 12, 1885, Chilpancingo, Guerrero, Mexico - d. June 30, 1956), governor of Guerrero (1937-41). He was also mayor of Acapulco (1935).
Bercheijk, Laurens Lodewijk van (d. 1765), commander of Demerara (1761-65); brother-in-law of Jonathan Samuel Storm van 's Gravesande.
Berchtold von und zu Ungarschitz, Fratting und Pullitz, Leopold Graf (Count) (b. April 18, 1863, Vienna, Austria - d. Nov. 21, 1942, Peresznye, near Csepreg, Hungary), foreign minister of Austria-Hungary (1912-15). He was also ambassador to Russia (1907-11).
Berçot, Jean-Pierre (b. Nov. 4, 1947, Hanoi, Vietnam), prefect of Saint-Pierre and Miquelon (2008-09). He was French ambassador to Chad (2003-06) and Andorra (2010-12).
Berdiyev, Allaberdy (b. 1904 - d. 1964), chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the Turkmen S.S.R. (1941-48). He was also chairman of the Supreme Soviet (1938-42) and chairman of the Executive Committee of Surkhandarya oblast (Uzbek S.S.R.) (1950-54).
Berdiyev, Batyr (Atayevich) (b. Oct. 3, 1960, Ashkhabad, Turkmen S.S.R. [now Ashgabat, Turkmenistan]), foreign minister of Turkmenistan (2000-01). In 1994-2000 he was ambassador to Austria, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and the OSCE. He was dismissed as foreign minister for alcoholism, poor knowledge of the native language, a weakness for women, and failure to understand the problems of the Caspian and Aral seas and Afghanistan. On Dec. 8, 2002, he was arrested in connection with a reported assassination attempt on Pres. Saparmurat Niyazov. In January 2003 he was convicted of involvement in the alleged attempt on Niyazov's life; he was sentenced to 25 years' imprisonment.
Berdiyev, Yaylim (Yagmyrovich) (b. 1972, present Baharly etrap [district], Turkmen S.S.R. [now Turkmenistan]), defense minister of Turkmenistan (2009-11, 2015- ). He was also minister of national security (2011-15).
Berdnikov, Aleksandr (Vasilyevich) (b. April 8, 1953, Gorno-Altaysk, Gorno-Altay autonomous oblast, Altay kray, Russian S.F.S.R. [now in Altay republic, Russia]), head of the republic of Altay (2006- ).
Berdymukhammedov, Gurbanguly (Myalikguliyevich), Turkmen Gurbanguly (Mälikgulyýewiç) Berdimuhamedow (b. June 29, 1957, Babarap village, Ashkhabad oblast, Turkmen S.S.R.), president of Turkmenistan (2006- ). He became minister of health in 1997 and deputy prime minister in 2001.
Bérégovoy, Pierre (Eugène) (b. Dec. 23, 1925, Déville-les-Rouen, Seine-Inférieure [now Seine-Maritime], France - d. May 1, 1993, Nevers, France), prime minister of France (1992-93). He joined the socialist party (SFIO) in 1944 and was a leading member of various socialist organizations until 1969, when he rejoined the reorganized Socialist Party (PS), becoming a member of its executive. After working as the campaign manager of François Mitterrand's successful 1981 presidential bid, Bérégovoy was named secretary-general of the Élysée Palace. In 1982 he became minister of social affairs and in 1984 minister of the economy, finance, and budget. A moderate socialist, he implemented an economic austerity program, supported a strong franc, and reformed and modernized France's financial markets. He lost his ministry when the Socialist government left office in 1986 but was reappointed when they returned to power in 1988. He gained wide respect for his policies to lower inflation and the budget deficit. In April 1992 Mitterrand named Bérégovoy to succeed Edith Cresson as prime minister. Initially he was a popular choice, but within months it was disclosed that he had accepted an interest-free loan in 1986 from businessman Roger-Patrice Pelat, who was later accused of insider trading. Bérégovoy denied any wrongdoing, but the corruption accusations against him and other leading Socialists contributed to a decline of his popularity along with that of his party, whose policies were blamed for a sharp rise in unemployment and a slowdown in the economy. In March 1993 the Socialists were overwhelmingly defeated in general elections. Apparently despondent over this defeat and the lack of personal support from Mitterrand during his own troubles, Bérégovoy shot himself a few weeks after stepping down.
Bérenger, Paul (Raymond) (b. March 26, 1945, Quatre Bornes, Mauritius), finance minister (1982-83), foreign minister (1991-93, 1995-97), deputy prime minister and finance minister (2000-03), and prime minister, defense minister, and interior minister (2003-05) of Mauritius. He founded the Mauritian Militant Movement (MMM) party and became an active trade unionist in the 1970s, instigating strikes by thousands of dockworkers aimed at paralyzing key sectors of the island's economy. In 1972 he paid the price for his radical Marxist policies and was jailed for almost a year by the government of Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam, the first prime minister of Mauritius. Since then he has evolved from a radical socialist into a free marketer and risen through the ranks, serving as leader of the opposition or in ministerial posts in coalition governments. A white Franco-Mauritian, he became the first member of a minority ethnic group to take the prime minister's post in a country where almost 70% are of Indian descent.
Berenguer (y Fusté), Dámaso, conde de (count of) Xauen (b. Aug. 4, 1873, Remedios, Cuba - d. May 19, 1953, Madrid, Spain), prime minister of Spain (1930-31). He entered the army in 1889, saw action in Cuba, and served continuously in Morocco between 1909 and 1915. In 1911 he organized the first units of native troops led by Spanish officers, the Regulars of Melilla. General Berenguer became minister of war in November 1918, when, after a long interval, the army began to express its political views. In January 1919 he was appointed high commissioner of Spanish Morocco, where he served until his indictment for negligence at Anual in July 1922. In 1924 the Supreme Military Council found him guilty as charged, but Prime Minister Miguel Primo de Rivera pardoned him, named him head of King Alfonso XIII's military household, and in 1927 secured him the title of conde de Xauen. When the dictatorship of Primo de Rivera came to an end, Alfonso made Berenguer prime minister, hoping that he would be able to prepare for a return to constitutional rule. But the political parties blamed the king for permitting the dictatorship, and many demanded his abdication. Berenguer negotiated throughout 1930 without success. Then a small military revolt occurred at Jaca. He resigned on Feb. 14, 1931, but served as minister of war under his successor, Adm. Juan Bautista Aznar-Cabañas. Municipal elections in April 1931 showed the republicans to be in the majority in the main cities, and Alfonso left the country. Although Berenguer pledged fealty to the new republic, he was jailed with other officers of the monarchy for having ordered the execution of the leaders of the Jaca revolt. In 1935 he was absolved by the Supreme Court of criminal responsibility for the executions.
Berenguer de Marquina, Félix (b. 1738, Alicante, Spain - d. Oct. 30, 1826, Alicante), governor-general of the Philippines (1788-93) and viceroy of New Spain (1800-03).
Berestovoy, Viktor (Ivanovich) (b. May 9, 1948, Garbuzovo, Belgorod oblast, Russian S.F.S.R.), chairman of the Executive Committee (1990-91) and head of the administration (1991-93) of Belgorod oblast.
Berezovsky, Boris (Abramovich) (b. Jan. 23, 1946, Moscow, Russian S.F.S.R. - d. March 23, 2013, Ascot, Berkshire, England), Russian politician; executive secretary of the Commonwealth of Independent States (1998-99). He was a close ally of President Boris Yeltsin, but fell out with Yeltsin's successor, Vladimir Putin, turning his media empire against the new president. He fled to Britain in 2000 after Russian prosecutors launched fraud charges against him which he denounced as politically motivated. In 2003 Britain granted him political asylum.
Berg, Max van den, byname of Margrietus Johannes van den Berg (b. March 22, 1946, Ammerstol, Zuid-Holland, Netherlands), queen's/king's commissioner of Groningen (2007- ).
Berg, Yury (Aleksandrovich) (b. Aug. 3, 1953, Nyrob village, Perm oblast [now in Perm kray], Russian S.F.S.R.), governor of Orenburg oblast (2010- ). He was mayor of Orsk in 2005-10.
Bergenev, Adilgazy (Sadvokasovich) (b. May 15, 1958, Shelekhovo, Semipalatinsk [now Semey] oblast, Kazakh S.S.R.), acting head of Semey oblast (1997) and head of Vostochno-Kazakhstan oblast (2008-09).
Berger, Jean-Jacques (b. June 21, 1790, Thiers, Puy-de-Dôme, France - d. Nov. 8, 1859, Paris, France), prefect of Seine département (1848-53).
Berger, Victor (Louis), original full name Victor Luitpold Berger (b. Feb. 28, 1860, Nieder-Rehbach, Austria [now in Romania] - d. [traffic accident] Aug. 7, 1929, Milwaukee, Wis.), U.S. politician. In 1910 he became the first Socialist to be elected to the House of Representatives (serving 1911-13 and 1923-29).
Berger Perdomo, Óscar (José Rafael) (b. Aug. 11, 1946, Guatemala City, Guatemala), president of Guatemala (2004-08). He was mayor of Guatemala City from Jan. 15, 1991, to June 30, 1999.
Berger-Waldenegg, Egon, until 1919 in full Egon Maria Freiherr Berger von Waldenegg am Perg und am Reunperg (b. Feb. 14, 1880, Vienna, Austria - d. Sept. 12, 1960, Graz, Austria), foreign minister of Austria (1934-36). He was also justice minister (1934-35) and minister to Italy (1936-38).
Bergmanis, Raimonds (b. July 25, 1966, Plavinas, Latvian S.S.R.), defense minister of Latvia (2015- ).
Bergmann-Pohl, Sabine, née Schulz (b. April 20, 1946, Eisenach, Germany), German politician. She was the last head of state (as president of the People's Chamber) of East Germany (1990).
Bergner, Christoph (Georg) (b. Nov. 24, 1948, Zwickau, Sachsen, Germany), minister-president of Sachsen-Anhalt (1993-94).
Bergsvik, Kornelius (Olai Person) (b. March 18, 1889, Austrheim, Norway - d. May 2, 1975), finance minister of Norway (1936-39) and governor of Telemark (1939-59).
Berhane Gebre-Christos (b. March 6, 1953, Makelle, Ethiopia), acting foreign minister of Ethiopia (2012). He was ambassador to the United States (1992-2002) and to the EU and the Benelux countries (2002-10).
Berhane Ghebray (b. 1938, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia), secretary-general of the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States (1989-94). He was also Ethiopian ambassador to Belgium (1979-89).
Berhanu Bayih (b. 1938), foreign minister of Ethiopia (1986-89). He was also minister of labour and social affairs (1983-86).
Beria, Lavrenty Pavlovich, also spelled Beriya (b. March 29 [March 17, O.S.], 1899, Merkheuli, Russia [now in Georgia] - d. Dec. 23, 1953, Moscow, Russian S.F.S.R.), Soviet secret police chief. He joined the Communist Party in 1917, participated in revolutionary activity in Azerbaijan and Georgia, joined the Cheka (secret police) in 1921, and became its head in Georgia. He became party chief of Georgia (1931-38) and of Transcaucasia (1932-36) and oversaw political purges there. In 1934 he became a member of the Central Committee. He was transferred to Moscow in 1938 as the deputy to Nikolay Yezhov, head of the Soviet secret police NKVD (People's Commissariat for Internal Affairs). Soon afterward, Beria replaced Yezhov, who was later executed. In February 1941 Beria also became a deputy prime minister. During World War II he played a major role in raw-materials production using the vast network of labour camps that he administered. For his wartime services he was made a marshal of the U.S.S.R. in July 1945. After the war he gave up direct control of the secret police, but became a full member of the Politburo in 1946. Soon after Stalin's death in March 1953, he became head of the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MVD), successor of the NKVD. During the ensuing power struggle, he apparently attempted to use his position to succeed Stalin as sole dictator. He was defeated, however, by an anti-Beria coalition led by Georgy Malenkov, Vyacheslav Molotov, and Nikita Khrushchev. On June 26, 1953, he was arrested and removed from all government and party posts. He was accused of being an "imperialist agent" and of conducting "criminal antiparty and antistate activities." After a six-day trial in December 1953, he was executed by firing squad.
Beridze, Avtandil, chairman of the Supreme Council of Ajaria (2012- ).
Beringe, (Friedrich) Robert von (b. Sept. 21, 1865, Aschersleben [now in Sachsen-Anhalt], Germany - d. July 5, 1940, Stettin, Germany [now Szczecin, Poland]), commander of Usumbura military district (1902-04).
Berisha, Sali (Ram) (b. Oct. 15, 1944, Tropojë, Albania), president (1992-97) and prime minister (2005-13) of Albania. He was a Communist Party member for 25 years, but turned against it as communist systems began to topple throughout eastern Europe. In December 1990, Berisha turned a student movement into a nationwide anti-communist uprising that forced Albania's first multiparty elections. The newly named Democratic Party lost elections in 1991 but won the following year, and on April 9, 1992, he was appointed president. His popularity began to wane as Albania struggled with the transition to free-market reforms. The first sign he was losing ground came in November 1994 when voters rejected a constitutional referendum that would have given the president more power. Berisha also came in for harsh criticism from other countries in May 1996, accused of irregularities and using violence to win elections. Assailed in Albania for increasingly authoritarian policies, Berisha lost his grip after pyramid investment schemes collapsed in January 1997. Protesters trashed state property, robbed private businesses, and raided weapons arsenals in a four-month anti-government rebellion. Following his party's defeat in elections, he resigned the presidency on Aug. 22, 1997, a year before his term expired. Berisha retained his seat in parliament and said he would work to ensure a market economy and Albania's acceptance in Western economic and military organizations. He spoke out harshly against the government of Prime Minister Fatos Nano, accusing it of corruption and incompetence. The hot-tempered Berisha gestured throughout his speeches and talked most of the time with his right hand in the air. He shouted so often from the podium that he frequently was hoarse. He returned to power in 2005 when the alliance led by his party won the elections. In 2009 he formed a coalition with a breakaway Socialist group that enabled him to remain in power, but it defected ahead of the 2013 elections and his alliance was then defeated.
Beriziky, (Jean) Omer (b. Sept. 9, 1950, Antsirabe Nord, Vohémar district, Madagascar), prime minister of Madagascar (2011-14). He was also ambassador to Belgium and the European Union (1995-2006).
Berjoan, André Joseph (b. June 13, 1903, Cherbourg, France - d. June 7, 1990), acting resident-superior of Cambodia (1944-45).
Berkel, Gerald (b. Sept. 21, 1969, Sint Eustatius, Netherlands Antilles), administrator of Sint Eustatius (2010- ).
Berkhouwer, Cornelis, byname Cees Berkhouwer (b. March 19, 1919, Alkmaar, Noord-Holland, Netherlands - d. Oct. 5, 1992, Alkmaar), president of the European Parliament (1973-75).
Berlinguer, Enrico (b. May 25, 1922, Sassari, Sardinia, Italy - d. June 11, 1984, Padua, Italy), Italian politician. He joined the Italian Communist Party (PCI) in 1943. The following year he was jailed for several months for taking part in demonstrations against the Fascist government. After World War II he was an organizer of Communist youth in Milan and Rome, becoming a member of the PCI Central Committee in 1945 and of its executive in 1948 and secretary-general of the Communist youth movement in 1949-56. After holding various posts in Rome and Sardinia, he became secretary for the Lazio region. In May 1968 he was elected to the Chamber of Deputies, and the following year he became deputy secretary to Luigi Longo, whom he succeeded as secretary-general in March 1972. He was the leading proponent of Eurocommunism. The concept, which gained ground in 1968 after the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia, though condemned by many Western Communists, involved a less doctrinaire party line and greater independence from Moscow (which implied, for Berlinguer, acceptance of Italy's NATO membership). Such concessions to the pluralistic democratic system would, Berlinguer hoped, help to achieve in Italy the "historic compromise" that he called for in 1973 - a ruling coalition of Communists and Christian Democrats. Although this seemed a strong possibility after the 1976 election (in which the PCI took 34.4% of the votes against the Christian Democrats' 38.7%), it never happened, and in the 1979 and 1983 elections the PCI's share of votes declined; other parties, chiefly the Socialists, successfully challenged his contention that the Communists were the only alternative to the Christian Democrats.
Berlusconi, Silvio (b. Sept. 29, 1936, Milan, Italy), prime minister of Italy (1994-95, 2001-06, 2008-11). The billionaire media mogul turned his talents to politics in January 1994. Bribery and corruption scandals had devastated the ruling coalition of Christian Democrats and Socialists. Amid popular cries for reform, Berlusconi founded the right-of-centre Forza Italia party and announced his candidacy for the national legislature. Running on a platform of free enterprise and individual initiative, he inveighed against bureaucracy and governmental interference in private business. To this end he allied himself with two smaller parties, the right-wing Northern League, which sought more autonomy for Italy's industrial region, and the neo-Fascist National Alliance. In the March 28 elections, this coalition, known as the Freedom Alliance, won a majority of seats in the Chamber of Deputies. Voters' disillusionment with the preceding regime played a role in his victory, as did, critics charged, his use of his own television stations to campaign. As leader of the majority party of the ruling coalition, he was sworn in as prime minister on May 11. Berlusconi's honeymoon was short-lived. His continuing role as head of a media empire was seen by many as a conflict of interest, and in December magistrates formally questioned him regarding past business practices. The Northern League having withdrawn from the coalition and faced with a no-confidence vote, Berlusconi resigned on December 22. Elections in 2001 returned him to power at the head of the five-party "Freedom House" coalition of Forza Italia, the National Alliance, the Northern League, the Christian Democratic Centre, and the United Christian Democrats. This government lasted for five years, a rare feat in Italy, but was then narrowly defeated in the 2006 elections. However, he again returned to power through elections in 2008, heading a coalition called "People of Freedom." Surviving many ethical scandals, he finally resigned in 2011 when a serious debt crisis made it evident that a more responsible person was needed at the helm. In October 2012 he announced his retirement from politics and two days later was sentenced to four years in prison for tax fraud; the sentence was immediately cut to one year based on a law aimed at reducing prison overcrowding. The following day he reversed his earlier statement and announced an undefined new movement to reform Italy's justice system. That he still received some 30% of the vote in February 2013 was an indication of the power of the media under his control. In June he was sentenced to another seven years in jail for abuse of office and paying for sex with an underage woman, but the conviction was overturned in July 2014. In August 2013 he lost his final appeal against the tax fraud conviction; consequently, he was expelled from the Senate in November. In April 2014 the prison sentence was commuted to four-hours-a-week community service, which he began in May.
Berman, Yitzhak (b. June 3, 1913, Berdichev, Russia [now Berdychiv, Ukraine] - d. Aug. 4, 2013), Israeli politician. He was speaker of the Knesset (1980-81) and minister of energy and infrastructure (1981-82).
Bermejo Hernández, Manuel (b. March 26, 1936 - d. Sept. 22, 2009), president of the Regional Junta of Extremadura (1980-82).
Bermúdez (Varela), Enrique (b. Dec. 11, 1932, León, Nicaragua - d. Feb. 16, 1991, Managua, Nicaragua), Nicaraguan rebel leader. Bermúdez rose from humble beginnings to become a colonel during the dictatorial reign of Anastasio Somoza Debayle. When Somoza was overthrown in the 1978-79 Sandinista-led insurrection, Bermúdez was in Washington, D.C., serving as a military attaché. In 1981 he organized the contras, a largely peasant army boasting 20,000 men, and used U.S. financing to arm the rebels to destabilize the Marxist Sandinistas. He launched hit-and-run attacks against the Sandinista government from bases in neighbouring Honduras until 1990, when the Sandinistas were voted out of office. He gained a measure of popularity among the peasants because of the Sandinistas' unpopular land- and farm-pricing policies. After the Sandinista National Liberation Front was defeated in the 1990 elections by the National Opposition Union, the contras agreed to disband. Bermúdez, who had been living in exile in Miami, Fla., returned to Nicaragua to negotiate land, food, and medical services for his former rebels. He was assassinated in the parking lot of a hotel by an unknown assailant, who had apparently lured him there. His death sparked concern among former contras who feared that Sandinistas had engineered the killing, but some speculated that disaffected contra officers might have been responsible for the professional-style murder.
Bermúdez (Merizalde), Jaime (b. 1966, Bogotá, Colombia), foreign minister of Colombia (2008-10). He was ambassador to Argentina in 2006-08.
Bermúdez de la Paz, Enrique (b. May 5, 1878, Los Andes, Chile - d. Jan. 13, 1953, Santiago, Chile), war and navy minister (1918-19) and interior minister (1919, 1929-30) of Chile. He was also minister of justice and education (1920), minister to Mexico (1920-27) and Central America (1927-28), and ambassador to Argentina (1929) and Spain (1930-33).
Bernard, Henri (Joseph Marie) (b. Sept. 20, 1920 - d. March 15, 2000), high commissioner of Mauritania (1958-59) and the Comoros (1963-66).
Bernard, (Joseph Gérard) Léonce (b. May 23, 1943, Abrams Village, P.E.I. - d. March 26, 2013, Summerside, P.E.I.), lieutenant governor of Prince Edward Island (2001-06).
Bernard, Marie Joseph Jules Pierre (b. Aug. 19, 1876, Pernes-les-Fontaines, Vaucluse, France - d. 19...), lieutenant governor of Gabon (1924-31).
Bernardet, Daniel (b. June 7, 1927 - d. Nov. 21, 2007), president of the Regional Council of Centre (1983-85).
Bernardi, Roy (Albert) (b. Oct. 14, 1942), mayor of Syracuse (1994-2001) and acting U.S. secretary of housing and urban development (2008).
Bernardini, Domenico (b. Sept. 17, 1956), captain-regent of San Marino (1991).
Bernasconi, Agostino (b. Oct. 13, 1914, Muzzano, Ticino - d. [car crash] June 28, 1951, Rivera, Ticino), president of the government of Ticino (1949-50).
Bernast, Alexis (Gustave Alexandre) (b. Oct. 8, 1895, Roubaix, Nord, France - d. July 15, 1978, Mata'utu, Wallis island), interim resident of Wallis and Futuna (1933). He was a member of the Territorial Assembly in 1962-72.
Bernier, Maxime (b. Jan. 18, 1963, Saint-Georges-de-Beauce, Quebec), foreign minister of Canada (2007-08). He was also minister of industry (2006-07).
Bernini, Carlo (b. May 6, 1936, Bondeno, Emilia-Romagna, Italy - d. Dec. 31, 2010, Castelfranco Veneto, Veneto, Italy), president of Veneto (1980-89).
Berntsen, Klaus (b. June 12, 1844, Eskildstrup, Fyn, Denmark - d. March 27, 1927, Copenhagen, Denmark), interior minister (1908-09), prime minister (1910-13), and defense minister (1910-13, 1920-22) of Denmark.
Berov, Lyuben (Borisov) (b. Oct. 6, 1925, Sofia, Bulgaria - d. Dec. 7, 2006), prime minister (1992-94) and foreign minister (1992-93) of Bulgaria.
Berreta (Gandolfo), Tomás (b. 1875, Montevideo, Uruguay - d. Aug. 2, 1947, Montevideo), president of Uruguay (1947).
Berri, Nabih (Mustafa) (b. Jan. 28, 1938, Freetown, Sierra Leone), Lebanese politician. The son of a Lebanese merchant in the then British colony of Sierra Leone, his family moved back to Lebanon in 1940. He joined Amal (the Movement of Hope), a militia organization representing the Shi`ah community in Lebanon (about 40% of the nation's population), when it was formed in 1974. Four years later he became its leader. He became minister of state for southern Lebanon and justice minister in Lebanon's national unity government formed in April 1984. Under Berri's leadership Amal was involved in armed clashes with Israeli forces, Maronite Christians, Palestinians, Sunni Muslims, and even the Druze, with whom Amal was allied. His influence on Amal changed it from a relatively obscure movement to a structured politico-military group. Amal was opposed to the partition of Lebanon, urging greater civil rights for the Shi`ah, who saw themselves as the most deprived sect in the nation. As a minister in the government, Berri participated in talks aimed at persuading Israel to withdraw from Lebanon in 1985, although many Shi`ah believed that Lebanon should not even talk to Israel. He and his Amal militia helped to secure the release of one American and a Frenchman kidnapped by extremists in early 1984. Berri became known for his moderate secular views, but was forced to take responsibility and criticism for the radical actions of his militia. His contacts with Western diplomats resulted in his becoming a valued intermediary on Lebanon's increasingly unstable political scene. Berri left the cabinet on Aug. 31, 1991. He was elected president of the National Assembly on Nov. 20, 1992.
Berriozábal, Felipe (Benicio) (b. Aug. 23, 1829, Zacatecas, Zacatecas, Mexico - d. Jan. 9, 1900, Mexico City, Mexico), Mexican minister of war and marine (1863, 1876, 1896-1900) and interior (1880) and governor of Michoacán (1863-64).
Berrocal Soto, Fernando (b. Feb. 19, 1945, San José, Costa Rica), Costa Rican politician. He was ambassador to the Soviet Union (1975-78), minister of the presidency (1982-84), permanent representative to the United Nations (1984-86, 1994-98), and minister of security (2006-08).
Berruga Filloy, Enrique, Mexican diplomat. He was chargé d'affaires in Ireland (1991-92), ambassador to Costa Rica (1997-2000), and permanent representative to the United Nations (2003-06).
Berry, Theodore M(oody) (b. Nov. 8, 1905, Maysville, Ky. - d. Oct. 15, 2000, Loveland, Ohio), mayor of Cincinnati (1972-75). During World War II he served as morale officer for the Office of War Information and returned to Washington in 1965 as director of the department that ran such programs as Head Start and the Job Corps in the then new Office of Economic Opportunity under Pres. Lyndon Johnson. In 1972 he became the first black elected mayor of Cincinnati.
Berryer, Joseph (Marie Clément Guillaume, vicomte) (b. March 9, 1897, Liége [now Liège], Belgium - d. Sept. 1, 1978, Knokke-Heist, Belgium), Belgian diplomat; son of Paul Berryer. He was chargé d'affaires in Spain (1936-37) and ambassador to Luxembourg (1945-53), the Vatican (1953-57), and Spain (1957-63).
Berryer, Paul (Marie Clément Charles, vicomte) (b. May 4, 1868, Liége [now Liège], Belgium - d. June 14, 1936, Spa, Belgium), interior minister of Belgium (1910-18, 1921-25).
Bersenev, Mikhail (Terentyevich) (b. Jan. 12, 1937, Maykapchagay, Vostochno-Kazakhstan oblast, Kazakh S.S.R.), interior minister of Kazakhstan (1990-92).
Bert, Paul (b. Oct. 19, 1833, Auxerre, France - d. Nov. 11, 1886, Hanoi, Vietnam), resident-general of Annam-Tonkin (1886). In France he was also prefect of Nord département (1871) and minister of education and worship (1881-82).
Berthelsen, Per (b. 1950, Qeqertarsuaq, Greenland), foreign and finance minister of Greenland (2008-09).
Berthet, Max (Guillaume) (b. Aug. 30, 1909 - d. Dec. 27, 1961), acting governor (1958) and high commissioner (1958-59) of Upper Volta.
Berthier, (Louis) César (Gabriel) (b. Nov. 9, 1765, Versailles, France - d. Aug. 17, 1819, Grosbois, Seine-et-Oise [now Val-de-Marne], France), governor of Tobago (1803) and governor-general of the Ionian Islands (1807-09).
Berthier, Emmanuel (b. Nov. 28, 1957, Nancy, France), prefect of Guadeloupe (2007-08). He has also been prefect of the départements of Hautes-Pyrénées (2005-07), Sarthe (2008-10), Oise (2013-15), and Moselle (2016- ).
Berthier, Hugues (Jean) (b. April 30, 1869, Toulon, France - d. 1958, Toulon), acting governor-general of Madagascar (1929-30). He was appointed (Dec. 26, 1922) but not installed as governor of Guadeloupe.
Berthier, Louis-Alexandre, (from 1809) prince de Wagram (b. Nov. 20, 1753, Versailles, France - d. June 1, 1815, Bamberg, Bavaria [Germany]), French minister of war (1799-1800, 1800-07) and prince of Neuchâtel (1806-14). He was made the first maréchal d'Empire in 1804.
Berthoin, Jean (Marie Yves Pierre) (b. Jan. 12, 1895, Enghien-les-Bains, Seine-et-Oise, France - d. Feb. 25, 1979, Paris, France), interior minister of France (1959). He was also prefect of the départements of Tarn-et-Garonne (1932), Haute-Garonne (1934), Marne (1936-38), and Seine-Inférieure (1938) and minister of national education (1954-56, 1958-59).
Berti, Gian Luigi (b. May 16, 1930 - d. Feb. 26, 2014), secretary of state for internal affairs (1961-73) and foreign and political affairs (1973-75) and captain-regent (1993-94) of San Marino.
Berti, Maria Luisa (b. Oct. 6, 1971, San Marino), captain-regent of San Marino (2011).
Berti, Pietro (b. 1967), captain-regent of San Marino (1998-99).
Bertie, Andrew Willoughby Ninian (b. May 15, 1929, London, England - d. Feb. 7, 2008, Rome, Italy), grand master of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta (1988-2008).
Bertin du Château, Léandre (Adolphe Joseph) (b. 1804 - d. 1884), acting governor of Senegal (1847).
Bertone, Rosana (Andrea) (b. May 9, 1972, San Salvador, Entre Ríos, Argentina), governor of Tierra del Fuego (2015- ).
Bertone, Tarcisio (Pietro Evasio) Cardinal (b. Dec. 2, 1934, Romano Canavese, Piemonte, Italy), Vatican secretary of state (2006-13). In 2007 he also became chamberlain.
Bertrand, Jean (Marie Pierre) (b. Jan. 17, 1921 - d. Dec. 11, 2005), administrator-superior of Wallis and Futuna (1962-64).
Beruchashvili, Tamar (b. April 9, 1961, Tbilisi, Georgian S.S.R.), foreign minister of Georgia (2014-15).
Berzins, Andris (b. Dec. 10, 1944, Nitaure, Latvian S.S.R.), president of Latvia (2011-15).
Berzins, Andris (b. Aug. 4, 1951, Riga, Latvian S.S.R.), prime minister of Latvia (2000-02). He served in three cabinets (state minister of labour, 1993-94; deputy prime minister and minister of welfare, 1994-95; state minister of labour at the ministry of welfare, 1995-97) before he was elected as mayor of Riga in March 1997. He consistently emerged from polls as one of the country's most popular politicians. In 2000 he became prime minister of a coalition government including his Latvia's Way party, the People's Party, Fatherland and Freedom, and the New Party.
Berzins, Indulis (b. Dec. 4, 1957, Madona, Latvian S.S.R.), foreign minister of Latvia (1999-2002). He first gained national acclaim in 1988-89 while appearing on the very popular TV program Apvarsnis ("Horizon"). This was one of the first TV programs to challenge the dogma and doctrines of the state. Again demonstrating his independent attitude, Berzins became the third registered member of the People's Front political party in the city of Jelgava. (The People's Front was the political party which first worked for the restoration of Latvia's sovereignty.) Later, Berzins became a founder of another political party, Latvia's Way, where he rapidly assumed a leading role. In 1993-95 he was deputy chairman of the party's parliamentary faction. In 1998-99 he was deputy speaker of the Saeima (parliament). As foreign minister, Berzins announced that he would ensure the continuity of Latvia's foreign policy, fuelling the steady drive for full membership in European and Euro-Atlantic institutions and the effort to enhance security, prosperity, and good neighbourliness in the Baltic Sea area.
Beshchev, Boris (Pavlovich) (b. July 30 [July 17, O.S.], 1903, Velikoye village, Yaroslavl guberniya [now oblast], Russia - d. May 27, 1981), Soviet railways minister (1948-77).
Beslagic, Selim (b. Feb. 23, 1942, Tuzla, Bosnia and Herzegovina), governor of Tuzla (2001-02).
Bespalov, Yury (Aleksandrovich) (b. Feb. 7, 1939, Magnitogorsk, Russian S.F.S.R.), Russian minister of industry (1996-97). He was also Soviet minister of chemical industry (1986-89).
Bessaïh, Boualem (b. 1930, El Bayadh, Algeria), foreign minister of Algeria (1988-89). He has also been ambassador to Belgium and Luxembourg (1963-70), Egypt (1970-71), Kuwait (1978-80), Switzerland and the Vatican (1991-92), and Morocco (2001-05), minister of information (1980-84), culture (1980-82), posts and telecommunications (1984-86), and culture and tourism (1986-88), and president of the Constitutional Council (2005- ).
Bessmertnykh, Aleksandr (Aleksandrovich) (b. Nov. 10, 1933, Biysk, Altay kray, Russian S.F.S.R.), foreign minister of the Soviet Union (1991). He was also ambassador to the United States (1990-91).
Best, (Karl Rudolf) Werner (b. July 10, 1903, Darmstadt, Germany - d. June 23, 1989, Mülheim an der Ruhr, West Germany), German plenipotentiary in Denmark (1942-45). Arrested in 1945, a Danish court sentenced him to death in 1948; in his second appeal, the Danish Supreme Court sentenced him to 12 years in prison in 1950, but he was released and repatriated to Germany in 1951. He was arrested in 1969 on suspicion of responsibility for the murder of thousands of Poles in World War II, but ultimately declared unfit to stand trial.
Bestuzhev-Ryumin, Graf (Count) Aleksey (Petrovich) (b. June 1 [May 22, O.S.], 1693, Moscow, Russia - d. April 21 [April 10, O.S.], 1766, Russia), president of the Collegium of Foreign Affairs (1742-58) and chancellor (1744-58) of Russia; brother of Graf Mikhail Bestuzhev-Ryumin. He was also minister of Great Britain to Russia (1717) and Russian ambassador to Denmark (1720-31, 1734-40) and Hamburg (1731-34).
Bestuzhev-Ryumin, Graf (Count) Mikhail (Petrovich) (b. Sept. 7, 1688, Moscow, Russia - d. Feb. 26, 1760, Paris, France), Russian diplomat. He was ambassador to Sweden (1721-25, 1731-41), Poland (1726-31, 1741, 1744-48), Prussia (1730-31, 1744), Austria (1748-52), and France (1756-60).
Betancourt (Pulecio), Íngrid (b. Dec. 25, 1961, Bogotá, Colombia), Colombian politician. She grew up in Paris, where her father served as Colombia's ambassador to UNESCO. Her mother narrowly escaped death in 1989 when she stood behind presidential candidate Luis Carlos Galán when he was assassinated. In 1990 Íngrid returned to Colombia and entered on a crusade against corruption and drug trafficking. Her own life soon came under threat, and she was forced to send her children away to New Zealand. In 1998 she founded the Oxygen Green Party (Partido Verde Oxígeno) and was elected to the Senate, obtaining the highest vote in the country. Her book La rabia en el corazón ("The Rage in the Heart") was largely ignored by the Colombian press, but was a best-seller in France. She was a minor candidate for the May 2002 presidential election when she was kidnapped by FARC rebels on February 23. Her husband carried on her campaign, hauling around a life-sized cardboard cut-out of his wife for three months, boarding with it on airplanes and posing with it for photos. But the polls did not improve, and she received only 0.5% of the vote in the election. She was finally liberated by the Colombian military in July 2008.
Betancourt (Bello), Rómulo (Ernesto) (b. Feb. 22, 1908, Guatiré, Miranda state, Venezuela - d. Sept. 28, 1981, New York City), president of Venezuela (1945-48, 1959-64). In 1928 he organized a liberal student movement and took part in demonstrations against the regime of Juan Vicente Gómez. He was arrested for a few weeks, but when he continued his activities he was exiled. While abroad, he briefly joined the Communist Party in Costa Rica. He returned secretly to Venezuela in 1936 and lived in hiding until he was apprehended and again exiled in 1939. Permitted to return in 1941, he helped found Acción Democrática, a left-wing but anti-Communist party which in 1945 joined forces with a group of young army officers and overthrew the government of Gen. Isaías Medina Angarita in a bloody coup. A ruling junta was set up with Betancourt as president. He established a new constitution and inaugurated a program of moderate social reform, providing land for the peasants and exercising greater control over the petroleum industry. He resigned in 1948 to permit the election of a successor, but a few months later a coup led by Marcos Pérez Jiménez drove Betancourt once again into exile. He spent the next 10 years in the United States, Cuba, Puerto Rico, and Costa Rica, directing the remnants of the outlawed Acción Democrática. Pérez Jiménez was overthrown in January 1958, allowing Betancourt to return to Venezuela. In December 1958 he was elected president. Harassed by pro-Cuban Communists on one side and frightened conservatives on the other, he steered a middle course. He retired as president in 1964 and lived for eight years in voluntary exile in Switzerland. Returning home in 1972, he campaigned unsuccessfully for reelection to the presidency in 1973.
Betancur Cuartas, Belisario (Antonio) (b. Feb. 4, 1923, Amagá, Antioquia department, Colombia), president of Colombia (1982-86). He became increasingly involved in official Conservative politics, moderating his original extreme right-wing opinions. In 1950 Pres. Laureano Gómez appointed him to the constituent assembly, but he was later imprisoned for his opposition to the military rule of Pres. Gustavo Rojas Pinilla. During his career he was a senator, minister of labour (1962-63), and ambassador to Spain (1975-77). On May 30, 1982, he was elected president of Colombia. It was the fourth time that he had been a Conservative candidate in a presidential campaign. The first time was in 1962; the second, when he lost to the official Conservative candidate, Misael Pastrana Borrero, was in 1970; and the third was in 1978, when he was beaten by the Liberal Julio César Turbay Ayala. In 1982 a split in the Liberal Party ensured Betancur's victory, the first Conservative win since 1974, when a 16-year agreement to alternate Liberal and Conservative presidencies had ended. Betancur received 47% of the vote, as against 40% for the official Liberal candidate, former president Alfonso López Michelsen. Inaugurated in August 1982, Betancur demonstrated his belief in the Colombian system of power sharing in his first cabinet, in which six Conservatives and six Liberals were given posts (the defense ministry remained in the hands of the army). His economic policies pleased the private sector. In his attempt to halt guerrilla activity, he restored the Peace Commission (which had resigned under Turbay's administration) and initiated positive steps toward dialogue with the insurgency movements. In 1984 the government signed ceasefires with the main rebel groups, but violence resumed in 1985.
Betayéné, Jean-Faustin (b. Sept. 23, 1922, Biligbi-Ton, near Komo, French Cameroons [now in Centre province, Cameroon]), foreign minister of Cameroon (1961-63).
Beteta Monsalve, Mario Ramón (b. July 7, 1927, Mexico City, Mexico - d. Oct. 6, 2004, Mexico City), finance minister of Mexico (1975-76) and governor of México state (1987-89).
Beteta Quintana, Ramón (b. Oct. 7, 1901, Mexico City, Mexico - d. Oct. 5, 1965, Mexico City), finance minister of Mexico (1946-52). He was also ambassador to Italy and Hungary (1953-59) and Greece (1955-59).
Betham, Gustav F(rederick) D(ertlag), byname Gus Betham, also known as Fereti Misipita (b. April 11, 1915, Western Samoa - d. March 31, 1984, Western Samoa), Western Samoan politician. He had a long and distinguished public career, which included membership on the Legislative Council (1948) and the Legislative Assembly (1949-71). He served as minister of finance (1961-69), secretary-general of the South Pacific Commission (1971-75), and later as Western Samoa's high commissioner to New Zealand.
Bethlen (de Bethlen), István gróf (Count) (b. Oct. 8, 1874, Gernyeszeg, Transylvania, Austria-Hungary [now Gornesti, Romania] - d. Oct. 5, 1946, Moscow?), prime minister of Hungary (1921-31). Elected to parliament as a Liberal in 1901, he later joined the national opposition and was active in the counterrevolutionary movement against Béla Kun's Communist regime (1918-19). In 1919 he was a delegate to the Paris Peace Conference. He was called to the premiership by Adm. Miklós Horthy in April 1921 with the hope of establishing a strong conservative regime. His domestic policy was authoritarian. He tried to preserve the old feudal aristocratic privileges, ended land redistribution, reintroduced a system of public voting in the nonurban areas, and restricted suffrage. His ultimate foreign policy aim was a revision of the Treaty of Trianon (1920) which alienated territory from Hungary, but he realized the necessity of first gaining internal security and the right friends abroad. Meanwhile, he negotiated Hungary's admission to the League of Nations, obtained a reconstruction loan, and facilitated the influx of private capital from abroad. In 1927 he broke through the encirclement of the Little Entente (a triangular coalition of Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia, and Romania against Hungary) to sign a treaty of friendship with Italy. Hungary's economic and political gains were shattered by the world economic crisis of 1929. Unable to cope with the financial situation, Bethlen resigned in 1931. He retained some significance due to his influence with Regent Horthy. In 1940 he opposed Hungary's alliance with Germany. The Soviets captured him in 1945 and took him to Moscow, where he was reported to have died.
Bethmann Hollweg, Theobald (Theodor Friedrich Alfred) von (b. Nov. 29, 1856, Hohenfinow, Prussia [now in Brandenburg, Germany] - d. Jan. 1, 1921, Hohenfinow), chancellor of Germany (1909-17). He was briefly a deputy in the Reichstag (1890) and was Oberpräsident of Brandenburg province in 1899-1905. He then became Prussian interior minister in 1905 and imperial interior minister in 1907. In 1909 he succeeded Prince Bernhard von Bülow as chancellor. His domestic policies were mildly liberal for their time, but he almost invariably yielded to persons more extreme and more forceful than himself. Bethmann and Sir Edward Grey, the British foreign secretary, worked successfully to prevent the expansion of the Balkan Wars into a major conflict between Austria-Hungary and Russia; this was probably Bethmann's greatest success in foreign affairs. At home, he was not an enthusiast of parliamentary government, and his half-hearted electoral reforms were largely ineffective. Having no desire for war, he nonetheless is thought to have initiated the July crisis of 1914 with the "blank check" to Austria-Hungary for measures against Serbia. Subsequent German warnings to Austria-Hungary and its prospective opponent Russia could not prevent the outbreak of war. Bethmann capitulated to the German general staff, which wanted war immediately. In 1916, he tried to secure the mediation of the United States, and, realizing that U.S. entry into the war would be decisive, he resisted the advocates of unrestricted submarine warfare. On April 7, 1917, he further angered military leaders and civilian conservatives by his promise of electoral reforms in Prussia. In the debates on the peace resolution that was passed by the Reichstag in July 1917, he was forced to resign.
Béthouart, (Marie Émile) Antoine (b. Dec. 17, 1889, Dôle, Jura, France - d. Oct. 17, 1982, Fréjus, France), French high commissioner of Austria (1945-50).
Bethune, Sir (Walter) Angus (b. Sept. 10, 1908, Sheffield, Tasmania - d. Aug. 22, 2004, Hobart, Tasmania), premier of Tasmania (1969-72); knighted 1979.
Betin, Oleg (Ivanovich) (b. Aug. 25, 1950), head of the administration of Tambov oblast (1995, 1999-2015).
Betrian, Stanley (Mario) (b. Nov. 1, 1951), administrator (1994-2000) and prime minister (2012) of Curaçao.
Bettel, Xavier (b. March 3, 1973, Luxembourg, Luxembourg), prime minister of Luxembourg (2013- ). In 2011-13 he was mayor of Luxembourg city.
Bettencourt, André (Joseph Marie) (b. April 21, 1919, Saint-Maurice-d'Etelan, Seine-Inférieure [now Seine-Maritime], France - d. Nov. 19, 2007, Neuilly-sur-Seine, near Paris, France), posts and telecommunications minister (1968), industry minister (1968-69), interim cultural affairs minister (1970-71), and interim foreign minister (1973) of France and president of the Regional Council of Haute-Normandie (1974-81).
Beureuh, (Teungku Muhammad) Daud, also spelled Beureueh (b. Sept. 15, 1899, Keumangan, Aceh [now in Indonesia] - d. June 10, 1987), governor of Aceh (1948-51). Later (1953-61) he led an armed rebellion against Indonesian rule of Aceh.
Beurnier, Maurice (b. Nov. 24, 1878, Montauban, Tarn-et-Garonne, France - d. 19...), governor of Guadeloupe (1924-26) and Senegal (1929-30, 1931-36).
Beust, Friedrich Ferdinand Graf (count; until 1868 Freiherr [baron]) von (b. Jan. 13, 1809, Dresden, Saxony [Germany] - d. Oct. 24, 1886, Altenberg [now part of St. Andrä-Wördern], Lower Austria), foreign minister (1866-67) and prime minister (1867) of Austria and foreign minister of Austria-Hungary (1867-71). He was also Saxon chargé d'affaires in Bavaria (1841-46), minister-resident to the United Kingdom (1846-48), minister to Prussia (1848-49), foreign minister (1849-66), minister of education and worship (1849-53), interior minister (1852-66), and minister-president (1858-66) and Austro-Hungarian ambassador to the United Kingdom (1871-78) and France (1878-82).
Beust, Ole von, byname of Carl-Friedrich Arp Freiherr von Beust (b. April 13, 1955, Hamburg, West Germany), first mayor of Hamburg (2001-10).
O. von Beust
Bevan, Aneurin, byname Nye Bevan (b. Nov. 15, 1897, Tredegar, Monmouthshire, England - d. July 6, 1960, Chesham, Buckinghamshire, England), British politician. He became prominent in the South Wales Miners' Federation and in 1929 was elected to the House of Commons as Labour member from Ebbw Vale, Monmouthshire. He quickly established himself on the left of his party. Throughout World War II he was a vigorous critic of Winston Churchill's coalition government but was equally critical of his own party. In 1945 he was appointed minister of health in Clement Attlee's Labour government. He was responsible for developing housing programs and successfully piloted through Parliament the bill that established the National Health Service. He was also jointly responsible with the minister of national insurance for the passing of the National Assistance Act which abolished the Poor Law. He became minister of labour in January 1951 but resigned from the government the following April in protest against the rearmament program, which necessitated sharp cutbacks in social expenditures. For the next few years he was the centre of controversy within the Labour Party and involuntarily gave his name to the party's radical wing ("Bevanites"). A colourful public personality and a brilliant spontaneous debater, he had great personal charm but was sometimes so rude to opponents that Churchill once called him a "merchant of discourtesy." After his defeat as party leader by Hugh Gaitskell (1955), he accepted his party's policies and became shadow foreign secretary. He was elected deputy party leader after the 1959 general election.
Bevanda, Vjekoslav (b. May 13, 1956, Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina), prime minister (2012-15) and finance minister (2015- ) of Bosnia and Herzegovina. He was finance minister of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina in 2007-11.
Beveraggi, Enrique (Marcelo) (b. Dec. 13, 1930, Bariloche, Río Negro, Argentina - d. June 16, 2015), public health minister of Argentina (1989).
Beves, P(ercival) S(cott) (b. Jan. 25, 1868 - d. Sept. 26, 1924), military governor of South West Africa (1915).
Bevin, Ernest (b. March 9, 1881, Winsford, Somerset, England - d. April 14, 1951, London, England), British foreign secretary (1945-51). In 1918 and 1931 he stood for Parliament but was defeated. In 1921 he amalgamated some twenty unions into the Transport and General Workers' Union, of which he was general secretary until 1940 and which became the largest trade union in the world. He was a member of the General Council of the Trades Union Congress in 1925-40 and its chairman in 1937. He was prominent in organizing the British general strike of May 3-12, 1926, and also instrumental in settling it. During the early years of the Great Depression he criticized Ramsay MacDonald's Labour Party government (1929-31) for failing to enact radical measures to relieve unemployment, and he refused to support MacDonald's national coalition ministry (1931-35). Through the 1930s he advocated British rearmament and a firm foreign policy to counteract the growing threat of Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy. In 1940 he finally entered the House of Commons and was appointed minister of labour and national service in Winston Churchill's war cabinet. When Clement Attlee formed his Labour government on July 26, 1945, Bevin was chosen as foreign secretary. Quickly losing his optimism about the Soviet Union, he argued (autumn 1945) against recognition of new Soviet-sponsored governments in the Balkans and signed the North Atlantic Treaty (April 4, 1949, in Washington, D.C.). On Jan. 6, 1950, the United Kingdom offered recognition to the People's Republic of China, contrary to United States policy. Ill health forced his resignation on his 70th birthday, March 9, 1951. For the last five weeks of his life he was lord privy seal.
Beye, Alioune Blondin (b. Jan. 8, 1939 - d. [plane crash] June 26, 1998, near Oguédoumé village, near Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire), foreign minister of Mali (1979-86). He was also minister of youth, sports, arts, and culture (1978). From 1993 he was UN special envoy to Angola.
Beyeler, Peter (C.) (b. Sept. 5, 1945), Landammann of Aargau (2003-04, 2008-09, 2010-11).
Beyen, Johan Willem (b. May 2, 1897, Utrecht, Netherlands - d. April 29, 1976, The Hague, Netherlands), foreign minister of the Netherlands (1952-56). He was also ambassador to France (1958-63).
Beyens, Eugène (Louis Joseph Marie Auguste) (b. March 24, 1855, Paris, France - d. Jan. 3, 1934, Brussels, Belgium), foreign minister of Belgium (1916-17).
Beynet, Étienne (Paul Émile Marie) (b. 1883 - d. 1969), delegate-general of Syria and Lebanon (1944-46).
Beyoun, Bouchraya (Hammoudi), prime minister of the Saharan Arab Democratic Republic (1993-95, 1999-2003).
Beyriès, Jean Louis (b. March 17, 1887 - d. April 29, 1974), lieutenant governor of Mauritania (1936 [acting], 1938-44).
Beysembayev, Masymkhan (Beysembayevich) (b. Dec. 22 [Dec. 9, O.S.], 1908, Yeltay, Semirechye oblast, Russia [now in Almaty oblast, Kazakhstan] - d. June 23, 1987, Alma-Ata, Kazakh S.S.R. [now Almaty, Kazakhstan]), chairman of the Council of Ministers of the Kazakh S.S.R. (1962). He was also chairman of the Executive Committee of Alma-Ata oblast (1942-43), first secretary of the party committees of Kokchetav (1952-54) and Alma-Ata (1958-62) oblasti, a deputy premier (1954-55), and first deputy premier (1955-58, 1962-64).
Beysen, Ward, byname of Eduard Marie August Beysen (b. June 26, 1941, Mortsel, near Antwerp, Belgium - d. Jan. 14, 2005, Wilrijk district, Antwerp), Belgian politician. He became a member of the Antwerp city council in 1974 and was a member of Belgian national and regional legislatures since 1981. He was member of the European Parliament for the liberal VLD party from 1999 to 2004, but he split from the major party in 2003 to form his own group, which tried to align itself more closely with the far-right Flemish Interest party. His Liberal Appeal group did not break through in elections. He was found dead in a pond near Antwerp on Jan. 15, 2005, one day after he was reported missing. He apparently committed suicide.
Bezborodko, Knyaz (Prince) Aleksandr (Andreyevich) (b. March 14, 1747 - d. April 6, 1799), president of the Collegium of Foreign Affairs and chancellor of Russia (1797-99). He was created a prince in 1797.
Bezerra, Antônio Vicente de Andrade (b. 1889, Timbaúba, Pernambuco, Brazil - d. 19...), acting governor of Pernambuco (1935).
Bezerra, José Adauto (b. July 3, 1926, Juazeiro do Norte, Ceará, Brazil), governor of Ceará (1975-78).
Bezhuashvili, Gela (Robertis dze) (b. March 1, 1967, Manglisi, Georgian S.S.R.), defense minister (2004) and foreign minister (2005-08) of Georgia.
Béziau, Pierre (Maurice Paul) (b. Jan. 17, 1920, Asnières, Seine [now Asnières-sur-Seine, Hauts-de-Seine], France - d. Sept. 19, 1996), prefect of Martinique (1969-70). He was also prefect of the départements of Meuse (1967-69), Dordogne (1970-73), Maine-et-Loire (1973-75), and Doubs (1975-77).
Bezuidenhout, Dawid (b. Sept. 7, 1935, Keetmanshoop, southern South West Africa [now Namibia] - d. Aug. 7, 1998, Windhoek, Namibia), chairman of the Transitional Government of National Unity of Namibia (1985, 1987).
Bganba, Valery (Ramshukhovich) (b. Aug. 26, 1953, Bzyb, Abkhaz A.S.S.R., Georgian S.S.R.), acting president of Abkhazia (2014). He became speaker of parliament in 2012.
Bhagat, Bali Ram (b. Oct. 7, 1922, Patna, Bihar, India - d. Jan. 2, 2011, New Delhi, India), foreign minister of India (1985-86) and governor of Himachal Pradesh (1993) and Rajasthan (1993-98). He was also minister of foreign trade (1969-70), supply (1969), and steel and heavy engineering (1970-71) and speaker of the Lok Sabha (1976-77).
Bhan, (Babu) Brish (b. 1908 - d. 1988), chief minister of PEPSU (1955-56).
Bhan, Suraj (b. Oct. 1, 1928, Mehlanwali village, Punjab [now in Haryana], India - d. Aug. 6, 2006, New Delhi, India), governor of Uttar Pradesh (1998-2000), Bihar (1999), and Himachal Pradesh (2000-03). He was also Indian agriculture minister (1996).
Bhandare, Murlidhar Chandrakant (b. Dec. 10, 1928, Bombay [now Mumbai], India), governor of Orissa/Odisha (2007-13).
Bhandare, R(amachandra) D(hondiba) (b. April 11, 1916, Vita, Satara district [now in Maharashtra], India - d. Sept. 5, 1988), governor of Bihar (1973-76) and Andhra Pradesh (1976-77).
Bhandari, Bidhya Devi, née Pandey (b. June 19, 1961, Manebhanjyang, Bhojpur district, Nepal), defense minister (2009-11) and president (2015- ) of Nepal. She was also minister of population and environment (1997).
Bhandari, Nar Bahadur (b. Oct. 5, 1940, Malbasey village, Soreng subdivision, West Sikkim district, Sikkim [now in India]), chief minister of Sikkim (1979-84, 1985-94).
Bhandari, Romesh (b. March 29, 1928, Lahore, India [now in Pakistan] - d. Sept. 7, 2013, New Delhi, India), lieutenant governor of Delhi (1988-89) and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands (1989-90) and governor of Tripura (1993-95), Goa (1995-96), and Uttar Pradesh (1996-98). He was also Indian ambassador to Thailand (1971-74) and Iraq (1974-76).
Bhandari, Sunder Singh (b. April 12, 1921, Udaipur [now in Rajasthan], India - d. June 22, 2005, Delhi, India), governor of Bihar (1998-99) and Gujarat (1999-2003).
Bhardwaj, Hansraj (b. May 17, 1937, Garhi village, Rohtak district, Punjab [now in Haryana], India), governor of Karnataka (2009-14) and acting governor of Kerala (2012-13, 2014). He was also Indian justice minister (2004-09).
Bhargava, Kalka Prasad (b. July 15, 1908), chief commissioner of Bhopal (1954-56) and Tripura (1956-58).
Bhargava, Rameshwar Prasad (b. Jan. 5, 1905, Dehra Dun, United Provinces of Agra and Oudh [now Dehradun, Uttarakhand], India - d. Nov. 23, 1985, Ottawa, Ont.), chief commissioner of Manipur (1952-55).
Bharti, Uma (b. May 3, 1959, Dunda, Tikamgarh district, Madhya Pradesh, India), chief minister of Madhya Pradesh (2003-04). She was also Indian minister of youth affairs and sports (2000-02) and coal and mines (2002-03). On May 18, 2004, she offered her resignation as chief minister as a protest against the expected assumption of the prime minister's post by Italian-born Sonia Gandhi, which Bharti considered an insult to national pride. Soon after, Gandhi declined the post. Bharti at that time had only submitted her resignation to her Bharatiya Janata Party and not yet to the governor, and the party rejected it, so she continued as chief minister. She did resign, however, on August 23, when she faced arrest over allegations that she incited communal riots in Karnataka in 1994. In 2014 she was appointed minister of water resources, river development, and Ganga rejuvenation.
Bhatia, Raghunandan Lal (b. July 3, 1921, Amritsar, Punjab, India), governor of Kerala (2004-08) and Bihar (2008-09). He was Indian minister of state for foreign affairs in 1992-93.
Bhatnagar, S.K. (b. June 1, 1930 - d. Aug. 4, 2001), governor of Sikkim (1989-90). He was also Indian ambassador to Bahrain (1983-86).
Bhattacharya, Buddhadev (b. March 1, 1944, Calcutta, India), chief minister of West Bengal (2000-11).
Bhattacharya, D(ilip) K(umar) (b. July 16, 1923, Benares, United Provinces of Agra and Oudh [now Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh], India), chief commissioner of Tripura (1967-70).
Bhattarai, Baburam (b. June 18, 1954, Khoplang, western Nepal), prime minister of Nepal (2011-13).
Bhattarai, Krishna Prasad (b. Dec. 22, 1924, Benares [now Varanasi], India - d. March 4, 2011, Kathmandu, Nepal), prime minister of Nepal (1990-91, 1999-2000). After multiparty democracy was restored in 1990, he was appointed prime minister of an interim government comprising representatives from his Nepali Congress party and several communist parties. He conducted Nepal's first free elections in 30 years and enforced a new constitution that guaranteed democratic rights in the country. In 1999, he again became prime minister after the Nepali Congress won elections. However, feuds in the faction-ridden party forced him to step down after nine months in power. As prime minister, he made official visits to India, Japan, and the United Kingdom, and led the Nepalese delegation to the meeting of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation in 1991 in the Maldives. His strict anti-corruption drive gave him the image of a clean politician. His anti-nepotism stand also helped him gain popularity among the public. He spent nearly 14 years in prison for opposing the autocratic system imposed in the country in 1960.
Bhichai Rattakul (b. Sept. 16, 1926, Bangkok, Siam [now Thailand]), foreign minister of Thailand (1976).
Bhokin Bhalakula (b. April 15, 1952, Bangkok, Thailand), interior minister of Thailand (2004-05). In 2005-06 he was speaker of the House of Representatives and president of the National Assembly.
Bhosale, Babasaheb (Anantrao) (b. Jan. 15, 1921, Satara [now in Maharashtra], India - d. Oct. 6, 2007, Mumbai, India), chief minister of Maharashtra (1982-83).
Bhumibol Adulyadej, also spelled Phumiphon Adunlayadet ("Strength of the Land, Incomparable Power"), also called Rama IX (b. Dec. 5, 1927, Cambridge, Mass., U.S.), king of Thailand (1946- ). A grandson of King Chulalongkorn, he succeeded to the throne after his older brother Ananda Mahidol was found dead of a bullet wound on June 9, 1946. He was married to Princess Sirikit Kitiyakara (b. Aug. 12, 1933) on April 28, 1950, and was formally crowned on May 5, 1950. The absolute monarchy having been abolished during the reign of King Prajadhipok as a result of the revolution of 1932, King Bhumibol wielded little real political power. His most important function was to serve as a living symbol of and a focus of unity for the Thai nation. After the government of Sarit Thanarat in the late 1950s, the king led an active ceremonial life, frequently appearing in public and moderating between extreme parties in Thai politics. Bhumibol designated his only son, Vajiralongkorn (b. July 28, 1952, Bangkok), as crown prince in 1972; he also has three daughters. In 1992 Bhumibol was able to use his moral authority to force the military-led government and the growing civilian opposition movement to work out a compromise. Much of Thailand's political opposition was focused on Gen. Suchinda Kraprayoon, who in 1991 led a successful coup against the country's nominally civilian government. In April 1992, Suchinda made himself prime minister. Demonstrations followed, but on May 17 Suchinda ordered a violent crackdown. The king acted on May 21, ordering a meeting with Suchinda and opposition leader Chamlong Srimuang, who had been jailed by Suchinda's forces. The two opposing leaders announced a political compromise within hours; on May 24, Suchinda resigned.
Bhutto, Benazir (b. June 21, 1953, Karachi, Pakistan - d. Dec. 27, 2007, Rawalpindi, Pakistan), prime minister of Pakistan (1988-90, 1993-96); daughter of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. When her father, who was leader of Pakistan in 1971-77, was executed in 1979 during the rule of military dictator Mohammad Zia-ul-Haq, she became the titular head of her father's party, the Pakistan People's Party (PPP). She endured frequent house arrest between 1978 and 1984 and was in exile in 1984-86. She returned to Pakistan after the lifting of martial law and soon became the foremost figure in the political opposition to Zia-ul-Haq, who died in August 1988 in a mysterious plane crash. In the ensuing elections, Bhutto's PPP won the single largest bloc of seats in the National Assembly. When she became prime minister of a coalition government on Dec. 1, 1988, she was the first woman leader of a predominantly Muslim nation in modern history. She began by freeing political prisoners and restoring civil rights but, in the years to follow, was unable to do much about the grim legacy of widespread poverty, governmental corruption, and increasing crime. In August 1990 Pres. Ghulam Ishaq Khan dismissed her government on charges of corruption and other malfeasances and called for new elections. Her PPP suffered a defeat in the elections of October 1990; she then led the parliamentary opposition against her successor, Nawaz Sharif. In elections held in October 1993 the PPP won a plurality of votes, and Bhutto again became head of a coalition government, but under renewed charges of corruption and mismanagement she was dismissed in November 1996 by Pres. Farooq Leghari. She was defeated in the elections of February 1997. She lived in self-imposed exile (London and Dubai) from April 1999 to October 2007. She narrowly escaped injury when her homecoming parade in Karachi was targeted by a suicide attacker, killing about 140 people. In another attack in December, however, she was killed, with more than 20 others.
Bhutto, (Sardar) Mumtaz Ali (Khan) (b. Nov. 29, 1933, Pir Bux Bhutto village, Larkana district, Sindh, India [now in Pakistan]), governor (1971-72) and chief minister (1972-73, 1996-97) of Sindh; cousin of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto.
Bhutto, Zulfikar Ali (b. Jan. 5, 1928, near Larkana, Sindh, India [now in Pakistan] - d. April 4, 1979, Rawalpindi, Pakistan), president (1971-73) and prime minister (1973-77) of Pakistan. In 1958 Pres. Mohammad Ayub Khan made him commerce minister, at 30 the youngest cabinet minister Pakistan had ever had. He then held other cabinet posts, including foreign minister (1963-66). In December 1967 he founded the Pakistan People's Party (PPP) in opposition to the Ayub Khan regime, which he denounced as a dictatorship, and was imprisoned for four months (1968-69). After the overthrow of Ayub Khan by Gen. Agha Mohammad Yahya Khan, elections were held in December 1970. The PPP won a sweeping victory in West Pakistan, but the biggest winner was the East Pakistan-based Awami League. Bhutto refused to form a government with this separatist party, causing a nullification of the election. The country slid into civil war, after which East Pakistan emerged as independent Bangladesh. Yahya Khan then turned the presidency over to Bhutto on Dec. 20, 1971. Bhutto proclaimed the departure of Pakistan from the Commonwealth but adopted a policy of reconciliation with India. When Pakistan's new constitution (1973) made the presidency largely ceremonial, he became prime minister. He announced elections in March 1977. These gave the PPP a large majority, but riots and charges of fraud followed, and Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mohammad Zia-ul-Haq seized power on July 5, 1977. Soon afterward Bhutto was imprisoned. He was sentenced to death (March 18, 1978) on the charge of having ordered the assassination of a political opponent in 1974; after an appeal to a higher court, he was hanged, despite a flood of petitions for clemency from world leaders and Pakistani citizens.