December 2003



India: In state elections in Madhya Pradesh, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) wins 173 of 230 seats and the Congress party 38; turnout is 67.4%. Chief Minister Digvijay Singh resigns on December 5; on December 8 Uma Bharti is sworn in as chief minister. In Chhattisgarh, the BJP wins 50 of 90 seats and Congress 37; turnout is 71.3%. Chief Minister Ajit Jogi submits his resignation on December 4; on December 7 Raman Singh is sworn in as chief minister. In Rajasthan, the BJP wins 120 of 200 seats against 56 for Congress; turnout is 67.2%. Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot resigns on December 4; Vasundhara Raje is sworn in as chief minister on December 8. In Delhi, Congress wins 47 of 70 seats and the BJP 20; turnout is 53.4%.

Iraq: Abdul Aziz al-Hakim takes up the rotating presidency of the Governing Council.


Bosnia and Herzegovina: Branko Damjanac is appointed mayor of Brcko.


The Netherlands: Ben Bot takes office as foreign minister.
Switzerland: Robert Cramer becomes president of the Council of State of Genève.
Switzerland: Former Landammann of Solothurn (1985, 1990, 1993) Fritz Schneider dies.


Papua New Guinea: Sir Pato Kakaraya is elected governor-general, defeating Sir Albert Kipalan by 52 votes to 39. Kakaraya is to be sworn in on January 20.


Guatemala: Former president (1970-74) Carlos Manuel Arana Osorio dies.
United States: In the mayoral runoff in Houston, Bill White (Democrat) defeats Orlando Sanchez (Republican), 63%-37%. White is to be sworn in on January 2.


Ethiopia: Former foreign minister (1960-61) Haddis Alemayehu dies.
Mexico: Gubernatorial elections in Colima, repeated after an electoral tribunal in October annulled the previous vote of July 6, are again won by Gustavo Vázquez Montes of the Institutional Revolutionary Party, who wins 51.6% of the vote against 47.8% for Antonio Morales of the National Action Party. Vázquez is sworn in as governor on December 31.
Russia: In parliamentary elections, United Russia wins 37.1% of the vote (222 of 450 seats), the Communist Party 12.7% (53), the Liberal-Democratic Party 11.6% (38), the Rodina Bloc 9.1% (45), Yabloko 4.3% (4), and the Union of Right Forces 4.1% (2). In presidential elections in Bashkortostan, incumbent Murtaza Rakhimov wins 42.8% of the vote, Sergey Veremeyenko 25.2%, and Ralif Safin 22.9%. In a runoff held on December 21, Rakhimov is reelected with 78% against 15.9% for Veremeyenko (who already announced his withdrawal from the race on December 18) and 4.1% against all; turnout is 70%. Results of gubernatorial elections: In mayoral elections in the city of Moscow, Yury Luzhkov is reelected with 74.8% of the vote against 12.4% for Aleksandr Lebedev, 3.7% for German Sterligov, 1.2% for Nikolay Lifanov, and 7.2% against all candidates; turnout is 57.4%.


Somalia: President Abdiqasim Salad Hassan dismisses Prime Minister Hassan Abshir Farah and appoints Muhammad Abdi Yusuf in his place.



Croatia: President Stipe Mesic designates Ivo Sanader as new prime minister. His cabinet is approved on December 23 (88-29). Miomir Zuzul becomes foreign minister, Berislav Roncevic defense minister, Ivan Suker finance minister, and Marijan Mlinaric interior minister.
Philippines: Acting Finance Secretary Juanita Amatong is appointed permanently to the position.

United States: Ernie Fletcher is sworn in as governor of Kentucky.
United States: In the mayoral runoff in San Francisco, Gavin Newsom (Democrat) defeats Matt Gonzalez (Green), 52.6%-47.4%. Turnout is 50%. Newsom is to be sworn in on January 8.


Argentina: Eduardo Brizuela del Moral takes office as governor of Catamarca, Roy Nikisch as governor of Chaco, Mario Das Neves as governor of Chubut, Carlos Verna as governor of La Pampa, Miguel Saiz as governor of Río Negro, José Luis Gioja as governor of San Juan, and Sergio Acevedo as governor of Santa Cruz.

Canada: Joe Handley is acclaimed as new premier of the Northwest Territories.
Switzerland: Christoph Blocher is elected as federal councillor, defeating Vice President Ruth Metzler 121 votes to 116. Hans-Rudolf Merz is elected to replace the retiring Kaspar Villiger, winning 127 votes against 96 for Christine Beerli. Blocher and Merz will take office January 1. Joseph Deiss is elected president for 2004 and Samuel Schmid vice president. On December 14 Blocher is designated to take the justice portfolio and Merz to take over finance.


Argentina: Jorge Busti takes office as governor of Entre Ríos, Julio Cobos as governor of Mendoza, and Jorge Obeid as governor of Santa Fe.


Central African Republic: Prime Minister Abel Goumba's government is dissolved. On December 12 Célestin Gaombalet is appointed prime minister, while Goumba is named vice president. On December 13 the new government is announced, including Charles Wénézoui as foreign minister, Jean-Pierre Lebouder as finance minister, and Marcel Malonga as interior minister; President François Bozizé retains the defense portfolio.
Uzbekistan: President Islam Karimov appoints Shavkat Mirziyayev as prime minister; the parliament approves the choice.


Azerbaijan: Former president (1993-2003) Heydar Aliyev dies.


Canada: Prime Minister Jean Chrétien resigns and Paul Martin is sworn in as prime minister. Anne McLellan becomes deputy prime minister, Ralph Goodale finance minister, and David Pratt defense minister.
Netherlands Antilles: Former governor (1942-48) Piet Kasteel dies.


Peru: President Alejandro Toledo asks for the resignation of Prime Minister Beatriz Merino's cabinet. On December 15 Carlos Ferrero Costa is sworn in as new prime minister. Manuel Rodríguez Cuadros becomes foreign minister and Gen. (ret.) Roberto Chiabra defense minister.
United States: Alphonso Jackson becomes acting secretary of housing and urban development following the resignation of Mel Martinez.


Cyprus: In parliamentary elections in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, the Republican Turkish Party wins 35.2% of the vote (19 of 50 seats), the National Unity Party 32.9% (18), the Peace and Democracy Movement 13.1% (6), and the Democrat Party 12.9% (7). Prime Minister Dervis Eroglu resigns on December 16. On December 29 President Rauf Denktas asks Mehmet Ali Talat of the Republican Turkish Party to form a government.

Philippines: Foreign Secretary Blas Ople dies. Franklin Ebdalin becomes acting foreign secretary. On December 17 President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo announces she is taking over the portfolio temporarily. On December 22 she appoints Delia Albert as new foreign secretary, who is sworn in on December 23.


Brazil: Former governor of Sergipe (1979-82) Augusto do Prado Franco dies.
San Marino: Fabio Berardi becomes foreign minister.


Canada: Former Nova Scotia premier (1956-67) Robert L. Stanfield dies.
Papua New Guinea: Former premier of Southern Highlands (1980-85) Tegi Ebeial dies.

Spain: Pasqual Maragall is elected president of the Generalitat of Catalonia (74-61). He takes office on December 20.


Brazil: Former governor of Paraná (1983-86) José Richa dies.
Ecuador: Raúl Baca becomes interior minister in a cabinet reshuffle. Finance Minister Mauricio Pozo, who offered to resign in November, is confirmed in his post.


Serbia and Montenegro: Dragan Djurovic becomes interior minister of Montenegro.


Belarus: The Chamber of Representatives confirms Syarhey Sidorski as prime minister (91-11).

Russia: In Kalmykia, President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov appoints Anatoly Kozachko as acting prime minister. On December 23 the parliament approves the candidacy.


Guinea: In presidential elections, incumbent Lansana Conté wins 95.6% of the vote and Mamadou Bhoye Barry 4.4%. Turnout is 82.8%.


India: The lieutenant governor of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Nagendra Nath Jha, is named as lieutenant governor of Pondicherry and Ram Kapse to replace him in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
Macedonia: Former chairman of the Executive Council (1982-86) and president of the Presidency (1986-88) Dragoljub Stavrev dies.

Mauritius: In a cabinet reshuffle, Jaya Krishna Cuttaree replaces Anil Gayan as foreign minister.
Thailand: Former prime minister (1977-80) Kriangsak Chomanan dies.


Norway: Former governor of Buskerud (1969-79) and Oslo and Akershus (1979-89) Gunnar A. Larsen dies.

Russia: Interior Minister Boris Gryzlov resigns. Rashid Nurgaliyev becomes acting interior minister.


Guatemala: In the runoff presidential election, Óscar Berger wins 54.1% of the vote and Álvaro Colom 45.9%. Turnout is 46.8%. Berger is to be sworn in on January 14.
Serbia and Montenegro: In parliamentary elections in Serbia, the Serbian Radical Party wins 27.6% of the votes (82 of 250 seats), the Democratic Party of Serbia 17.7% (53), the Democratic Party 12.6% (37), G17 Plus 11.5% (34), the Serbian Renewal Movement-New Serbia 7.7% (22), and the Socialist Party of Serbia 7.6% (22). Turnout is 58.7%.


Albania: Parliament approves Kastriot Islami as foreign minister, Arben Malaj as finance minister, and Igli Toska as public order (interior) minister.
Germany: Former lord mayor of East Berlin (1990-91) Tino Schwierzina dies.