May 2002


French Guiana: Former prefect (1960-63) René Erignac dies.

Madagascar: Toamasina Governor Samuel Lahady proclaims himself "head of state of the independent state of Toamasina." The provinces of Toliara and Mahajanga follow with proclamations of independence on May 2 and 3, respectively. In the capital, Marc Ravalomanana is sworn in as president for a second time on May 6.
Niue: Young Vivian of the Niue People's Party is elected premier by the Legislative Assembly, defeating Hunukitama Hunuki, nominee of the Alliance of Independents, by 14 to 6 votes.


Switzerland: Thomas Burgener takes office as president of the Council of State of Valais and Ernst Buschor as president of the government of Zürich.



The Bahamas: The Progressive Liberal Party wins parliamentary elections with 50.8% of the vote (29 of 40 seats) against 41.1% (7) for the Free National Movement and 5.2% (4) for independents. Turnout is 82.4%. Perry Christie is sworn in as prime minister on May 3. He also takes over the finance portfolio. On May 7 Cynthia Pratt becomes deputy prime minister and minister of national security. Fred Mitchell is sworn in as foreign minister on May 10.
Vanuatu: In parliamentary elections, the Union of Moderate Parties wins 15 of 52 seats, the Vanua'aku Pati of Prime Minister Edward Natapei 14, the Vanuatu Republican Party 3, and the Melanesian Progressive Party 2.


Argentina: Alfredo Atanasof is sworn in as cabinet chief and Jorge Matzkin as interior minister.
India: Mayawati is sworn in as chief minister of Uttar Pradesh.

Somalia: The president of Somaliland, Muhammad Haji Ibrahim Egal, dies. He is succeeded by the vice president, Dahir Riyale Kahin.


Bolivia: Former president (1971-78, 1997-2001) Hugo Banzer Suárez dies.
Burkina Faso: In parliamentary elections, the ruling Congress for Democracy and Progress wins 57 of 111 seats, the Alliance for Democracy and Federation-African Democratic Rally 17, and the Party for Democracy and Progress 10. Turnout is 64.2%.
Dominica: Former president (1983-93) Sir Clarence Augustus Seignoret dies.


France: In the presidential election runoff, incumbent Jacques Chirac wins 82.2% of the vote and Jean-Marie Le Pen 17.8%. Turnout is 79.7%. Prime Minister Lionel Jospin resigns on May 6 and Chirac names Jean-Pierre Raffarin (president of the Regional Council of Poitou-Charentes) as prime minister. On May 7 the new cabinet is named, including Dominique de Villepin as foreign minister, Francis Mer as finance minister, Michčle Alliot-Marie as defense minister, and Nicolas Sarkozy as interior minister. On May 8 Dominique de la Martiničre becomes acting president of the Regional Council of Poitou-Charentes.

Switzerland: Jakob Kamm is elected Landammann of Glarus.
Venezuela: In a cabinet reshuffle, President Hugo Chávez names Gen. Lucas Rincón as defense minister, Tobías Nóbrega as finance minister, and Diosdado Cabello as interior minister. José Vicente Rangel becomes executive vice-president.


United States: Ray Nagin is sworn in as mayor of New Orleans.


Bahrain: Former chief political resident of the Persian Gulf (1953-58) Sir Bernard Burrows dies.
The Sudan: Finance Minister Abdel Rahim Hamdi is relieved of his post. Al-Zubair Ahmed Hassan takes over the portfolio.


Comoros: Azali Assoumani is declared president-elect. He is sworn in on May 26.


Costa Rica: Abel Pacheco de la Espriella takes office as president. Lineth Saborío becomes first vice president, Roberto Tovar Faja foreign minister, and Jorge Wálter Bolańos finance minister.
Somalia: Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed, who claims the presidency of the autonomous state of Puntland, seizes Bossasso, the last remaining stronghold of his rival Jama Ali Jama.


Cayman Islands: Governor Peter Smith leaves the islands, and James Ryan becomes acting governor until the arrival of the new governor, Bruce Dinwiddy, on May 29.
Cyprus: Andreas Panagiotou is appointed interior minister.


Costa Rica: Former acting foreign minister (1983) Armando Arauz Aguilar dies.


Comoros: In presidential elections on Grande Comore, Abdou Soulé Elbak wins 17.1% of the vote, Bakari Abdallah Boina 14.6%, and Kamar Ezamane Mohamed ben Charaf 10.9%. Turnout is 70.1%. A runoff is held May 19, and Elbak is elected with 60.1% against 39.9% for Boina. Turnout is 71.8%. Elbak takes office May 29.
Mali: In the presidential election runoff, Amadou Toumani Touré wins 65% of the vote, compared to 35% for Soumaďla Cissé. Turnout is 30.2%. Touré will take office on June 8.

Russia: Sergey Katanandov takes office as head of the republic of Karelia.


El Salvador: Conrado López Andreu is sworn in as new interior minister.

Madagascar: President Didier Ratsiraka names Gen. Ismaël Mounibou as defense minister. On May 14, rival president Marc Ravalomanana names a new government including Ratsiraka's former defense minister, Marcel Ranjeva, as foreign minister; Jules Mamizara, Narisoa Rajaonarivony, and Jean Seth Rambeloarijaona remain as defense, finance, and interior ministers.
Turkmenistan: Col. Annaberdy Kakabayev is appointed interior minister.


Georgia: Parliament approves Mirian Gogiashvili as finance minister.
Mexico: Former governor of México (1951-57) Salvador Sánchez Colín dies.
Sierra Leone: In presidential elections, incumbent Ahmad Tejan Kabbah wins 70.6% of the vote and Ernest Bai Koroma 22.4%. In parliamentary elections, Kabbah's Sierra Leone People's Party wins 83 of 112 seats and Koroma's All People's Congress 27. On May 21 a new cabinet is announced, including Kabbah himself as defense minister, Momodu Koroma as foreign minister, Joseph B. Dauda as finance minister, and Sam Hinga Norman as interior minister. Solomon Berewa becomes vice president.


The Netherlands: In parliamentary elections, the Christian Democrats win 27.9% of the vote (43 of 150 seats), the List Pim Fortuyn 17% (26), the right liberals (VVD) 15.5% (24), the Labour Party 15.1% (23), Green Left 7% (10), the Socialist Party 5.9% (9), the left liberals (D66) 5.1% (7), and the Christian Union 2.5% (4). Turnout is 79%.


Dominican Republic: In parliamentary elections, President Hipólito Mejía's Dominican Revolutionary Party (PRD) wins 73 of 150 seats in the Chamber of Deputies, the Dominican Liberation Party (PLD) 41, and the Social Christian Reformist Party (PRSC) 36; in the Senate, the PRD wins 29 of 32 seats, the PLD 2, and the PRSC 1.

France: Jean-Luc Harousseau becomes acting president of the Regional Council of Pays de la Loire following the appointment of François Fillon as minister of social affairs.

Germany: Wolfgang Böhmer takes office as minister-president of Sachsen-Anhalt.


Ireland: In parliamentary elections, Prime Minister Bertie Ahern's Fianna Fáil wins 81 of 166 seats, Fine Gael 31, Labour 20, Progressive Democrats 8, Green Party 6, and Sinn Féin 5.
United Kingdom: James Chichester-Clark, Baron Moyola, former prime minister of Northern Ireland (1969-71), dies.


Australia: Former prime minister (1968-71) Sir John Grey Gorton dies.
Comoros: Mohamed Said Fazul takes office as president of Mohéli.
Russia: Viktor Maslov is elected governor of Smolensk oblast, winning 40.5% of the vote against 34.4% for incumbent Aleksandr Prokhorov.
Vietnam: In parliamentary elections, Communist Party members win 447 of 498 seats. Turnout is 99.7% (voting is mandatory).


East Timor: After a transitional UN administration, the country achieves independence, which is proclaimed by Parliament Speaker Francisco Guterres, who shortly afterwards swears in Xanana Gusmăo as president. Chief Minister Mari Alkatiri becomes prime minister, José Ramos-Horta remains foreign minister, Roque Rodrigues becomes defense minister, Madalena Boavida finance minister, and Rogério Lobato interior minister.
Israel: Prime Minister Ariel Sharon fires the four ministers of the Shas party in his government, including Interior Minister Eli Yishai. The resignations take effect May 23, and Sharon takes over the portfolios.


India: Former Himachal Pradesh governor (1993) Gulsher Ahmed dies.

Switzerland: Patrizia Pesenti becomes president of the Council of State of Ticino.


Kyrgyzstan: Prime Minister Kurmanbek Bakiyev resigns. First Deputy Prime Minister Nikolay Tanayev is named acting prime minister. He is approved as prime minister by the parliament on May 30.
Yugoslavia: The parliament of Montenegro approves the resignation of Prime Minister Filip Vujanovic.


Nepal: Finance Minister Ram Sharan Mahat resigns. Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba takes over the finance ministry.

Russia: Murat Zyazikov is sworn in as president of Ingushetia.


China: Former governor of Guangdong (1979-81) Xi Zhongxun dies.


Comoros: Former foreign minister (1982-90) Said Kafe dies.
Lesotho: In parliamentary elections, the ruling Lesotho Congress for Democracy wins 54% of the vote (77 of 120 seats), the Basotho National Party 21% (21), and the Lesotho People's Congress 7% (5).


Canada: Prime Minister Jean Chrétien sacks Defense Minister Art Eggleton; he is replaced by John McCallum.
Colombia: Presidential elections are won by Álvaro Uribe Vélez (independent) with 53% of the vote, against 31.7% for Horacio Serpa Uribe (Liberal Party), 6.2% for Luis Eduardo Garzón, 5.8% for Noemí Sanín, 0.5% for Íngrid Betancourt, and 0.5% for Harold Bedoya. Turnout is 46.4%.
Congo (Brazzaville): In the first round of parliamentary elections, President Denis Sassou-Nguesso's Congolese Labour Party wins 29 seats and the Pan-African Union for Social Development, the Union for Democracy and Republic, the Association for Democracy and Social Progress, and the Alliance for Congo 2 seats each; the second round will be held on June 23.
France: Former foreign minister (1973-74) Michel Jobert dies.


Bosnia and Herzegovina: Paddy Ashdown, Baron Ashdown, takes over as international high representative.


Hungary: Parliament elects Péter Medgyessy as new prime minister. László Kovács becomes foreign minister, Csaba László finance minister, Ferenc Juhász defense minister, and Mónika Lamperth interior minister.
Madagascar: Didier Ratsiraka's prime minister, Tantely Andrianarivo, is placed under house arrest by forces supporting Marc Ravalomanana as president, and Jacques Sylla takes possession of the prime minister's office. On May 31 Ratsiraka appoints Jean-Jacques Rasolondraibe as interim prime minister.


Czech Republic: Praha mayor Jan Kasl resigns. Petr Svec becomes acting mayor.


Algeria: In parliamentary elections, the National Liberation Front of Prime Minister Ali Benflis wins 199 of 389 seats, the National Democratic Rally 48, the Movement of the National Reform 43, the Movement of the Society of Peace 38, and the Workers' Party 21. Turnout is 46.1%.
Brazil: Former governor of Guanabara (1960) and prefect of the Distrito Federal (1961-62) José Sette Câmara Filho dies.

The Netherlands: Former queen's commissioner of Zeeland (1975-92) Kees Boertien dies.
Venezuela: Roy Chaderton is sworn in as foreign minister.