Moldova: President Petru Lucinschi nominates Communist Party leader Vladimir Voronin as prime minister, but he is rejected by the parliament on December 7. On December 16 Lucinschi names Dumitru Braghis for the post, and he is confirmed on December 21. Mihai Manoli becomes finance minister and Vladimir Turcan interior minister, while Foreign Minister Nicolae Tabacaru and Defense Minister Boris Gamurari keep their posts.
Namibia: In presidential elections held November 30 and December 1, incumbent Sam Nujoma (SWAPO) wins 76.8% of the vote, followed by Ben Ulenga (Congress of Democrats) with 10.5% and Katuutire Kaura (Democratic Turnhalle Alliance) with 9.6%. In parliamentary elections SWAPO wins 76.1% of the vote, the CoD 9.9%, and the DTA 9.5%. Turnout is 53%.
Comoros: A new government is appointed with Bianrifi Tarmidi as prime minister.
India: Vishnu Kant Shastri becomes governor of Himachal Pradesh, replacing V.S. Rama Devi, who becomes governor of Karnataka. Ved Marwah becomes governor of Manipur.
Malaysia: Abdul Hadi Awang is sworn in as chief minister of Terengganu and Datuk Mohd Ali Rustam becomes chief minister of Malacca.
Chile: Manuel Marfán is appointed finance minister.
Finland: Roger Nordlund becomes lantråd of the Åland Islands.
Malaysia: Dato' Seri Mohd Tajol Rosli Ghazali becomes chief minister of Perak.
India: Viren J. Shah takes office as governor of West Bengal.
Mozambique: In presidential elections held December 3-5, incumbent Joaquim Chissano (Frelimo) wins 52.3% of the vote and Afonso Dhlakama (Renamo) 47.7%. In parliamentary elections Frelimo wins 48.5% of the vote (133 of 250 seats) and Renamo 38.8% (117).
Uzbekistan: In the first round of parliamentary elections, 184 of 250 constituencies are decided. Of those elected, 98 belong to various regional government structures while 32 represent the People's Democratic Party of Uzbekistan, the successor to the Communist Party. Another 19 represent the Fidokorlar (Self Sacrifice) party. The Adolot (Justice) and Vatan Tarakkieti (Fatherland's Progress) parties pick up 9 seats each while Milli Tiklanish (National Renaissance) receives 6 seats. Citizens' groups representatives win 11 places. Turnout is 95%.
India: Hemananda Biswal is sworn in as chief minister of Orissa.
Malaysia: Former resident commissioner of Malacca (1954-57) Harold George Hammett dies.
Suriname: Foreign Minister Errol Snijders takes the additional post of defense minister. Errol Alibux becomes finance minister.
Malaysia: Datuk Syed Razak Syed Zain is appointed chief minister of Kedah; he is sworn in on December 11.
Argentina: Fernando de la Rúa is sworn in as president. The new cabinet chief is Rodolfo Terragno. Adalberto Rodríguez Giavarini becomes foreign minister, Ricardo López Murphy defense minister, and Federico Storani interior minister.
de la Rúa
Cameroon: Former prime minister (1960-61) Charles Assalé dies.
Croatia: President Franjo Tudjman dies.
New Zealand: Helen Clark takes office as prime minister. Phil Goff becomes foreign minister, Michael Cullen finance minister, and Mark Burton defense and internal affairs minister.
Chile: In the first round of presidential elections, Ricardo Lagos of the ruling centre-left Concertación coalition wins 48% of the vote, ahead of Joaquín Lavín of the right-wing Alliance for Chile coalition with 47.5% and Gladys Marín of the Communist Party with 3.2%. A runoff will be held January 16.
Turkmenistan: In parliamentary elections, all 50 seats go to the Democratic Party of Turkmenistan, the only legal party.
Chad: President Idriss Déby appoints Nagoum Yamassoum prime minister following the resignation of Nassour Guelendouksia Ouaido.
Malaysia: A new cabinet is announced including Dato' Seri Najib Tun Razak as defense minister.
Romania: President Emil Constantinescu dismisses Prime Minister Radu Vasile. Alexandru Athanasiu becomes interim prime minister. On December 16 Constantinescu designates Mugur Isarescu as prime minister. Parliament confirms him on December 21 and he is sworn in December 22. Petre Roman becomes foreign minister.
Germany: Sigmar Gabriel (SPD) becomes minister-president of Niedersachsen.
Macedonia: Boris Trajkovski is sworn in as president. On December 27 parliament approves a new cabinet including Nikola Gruevski as finance minister and Dosta Dimovska as interior minister.
Ukraine: President Leonid Kuchma nominates Viktor Yushchenko as prime minister, the parliament having voted against Valeriy Pustovoitenko keeping his post. Parliament confirms Yushchenko on December 22.
Mexico: Former governor of Nayarit (1973-79) Pedro G. Zorrilla Martínez dies.
Russia: In parliamentary elections, the Communist Party wins 24.2% of the vote (111 of 450 seats), Unity 23.4% (76), Fatherland-All Russia 12.6% (62), Union of Right-Wing Forces 8.7% (29), Yabloko 6.1% (22), and the Zhirinovsky bloc 6.1% (17).
China: The formerly Portuguese territory of Macau becomes a special administrative region of China, with Edmund Ho as chief executive.
Tajikistan: President Emomali Rakhmonov appoints Akil Akilov as prime minister.
Bulgaria: In a cabinet reshuffle, Boyko Noev replaces Georgi Ananiev as defense minister and Emanuil Yordanov replaces Bogomil Bonev as interior minister.
Sri Lanka: Chandrika Kumaratunga is reelected president with 51.1% of the votes; Ranil Wickremesinghe comes second with 42.7%. Turnout is about 73%.
Wallis and Futuna: Former ruler of Sigave (1990-94) Lafaele Malau dies.
Italy: A new cabinet under Prime Minister Massimo D'Alema is sworn in. Sergio Mattarella becomes defense minister and Enzo Bianco interior minister.
Niger: Mamadou Tandja is sworn in as president. On December 31 he names Hama Amadou prime minister.
Algeria: Prime Minister Smail Hamdani resigns. President Abdelaziz Bouteflika appoints Ahmed Benbitour prime minister. The next day Youcef Yousfi is appointed foreign minister, Abdelatif Benachenhou finance minister, and Yazid Zerhouni interior minister.
Papua New Guinea: Muki Taranupi becomes defense minister and Sir John Kaputin foreign minister in a cabinet reshuffle.
Brazil: Former president (1979-85) João Baptista de Oliveira Figueiredo dies.
Côte d'Ivoire: President Henri Konan Bédié is ousted in a military coup led by Gen. Robert Guéi, who the following day is named president of a National Public Salvation Committee.
France: Former foreign minister (1958-68) and prime minister (1968-69) Maurice Couve de Murville dies.
Nigeria: Former governor of Ondo (1984-85) Michael Bamidele Otiko dies.
South Africa: Former president of Venda (1988-90) Frank Ravele dies.
Guatemala: In the presidential election runoff, Alfonso Portillo Cabrera wins 68.3% of the vote and Óscar Berger Perdomo 31.7%.
India: Former president (1992-97) Shankar Dayal Sharma dies.
Cambodia: Former foreign minister (1964-65, 1970-72) Koun Wick dies.
Turkmenistan: President Saparmurat Niyazov "Turkmenbashi" is made president for life by the Mejlis (parliament).
Russia: President Boris Yeltsin resigns. Prime Minister Vladimir Putin becomes acting president.
United States: Former secretary of health, education and welfare (1970-73), attorney general (1973), secretary of defense (1973) and of commerce (1976-77) Elliot Richardson dies.