Afghanistan: Former head of state (president of the Revolutionary Council, 1979-86) Babrak Karmal dies in Moscow.
Bolivia: President Gonzalo Sánchez de Lozada names Alfonso Kreidler to replace Jorge Otasevic as defense minister, and Franklin Anaya to replace Carlos Sánchez Berzaín as interior minister.
Comoros: In parliamentary elections (with some of the seats decided in a second round on December 8), the ruling National Rally for Development wins 36 out of 43 seats in the Federal Assembly, the National Front for Justice wins 3, and independents 4.
Estonia: Riivo Sinijärv is appointed interior minister and Toomas Hendrik Ilves (sworn in December 2) foreign minister.
Moldova: Petru Lucinschi wins the presidential election runoff against President Mircea Snegur, 54%-46%. Turnout is 72%.
Russia: Aleksey Lebed wins 45% in the first round of presidential elections in the republic of Khakassia, followed by Yevgeny Reznikov with 19% and Prime Minister Yevgeny Smirnov with 11%.
Thailand: Chavalit Yongchaiyudh of the New Aspiration Party is sworn in as prime minister. He will also be defense minister. Foreign minister: Prachuab Chaiyasan (Chart Pattana); interior: Snoh Thienthong (NAP); finance: Amnuay Viravan.
India: Marri Channa Reddy, governor of Tamil Nadu since 1993 and former governor of Uttar Pradesh (1974-77), Punjab (1982-83), and Rajasthan (1992-93) and chief minister of Andhra Pradesh (1978-80, 1989-90), dies. Andhra Pradesh Governor Krishan Kant is concurrently made governor of Tamil Nadu.
Kyrgyzstan: Taalaibek Koichumanov replaces Kemelbek Nanayev as finance minister.
Zambia: President Frederick Chiluba names a new government. It is largely unchanged except that Lawrence Shimba replaces Christon Tembo as foreign minister.
India: Former Nagaland governor (1990-92) M.M. Thomas dies.
Lithuania: President Algirdas Brazauskas approves a 17-member cabinet led by Prime Minister Gediminas Vagnorius. Foreign minister: Algirdas Saudargas; defense: Ceslovas Stankevicius; interior: Vidmantas Ziemelis; finance: Rolandas Matiliauskas.
United States: For his second term beginning Jan. 20, 1997, President Bill Clinton nominates Madeleine Albright as secretary of state; Sen. William Cohen, a Republican, as secretary of defense; and Anthony Lake as CIA director. On December 13 Clinton names Bill Richardson to succeed Albright as UN ambassador, and Bill Daley to become secretary of commerce. On December 20 he appoints Federico Peña as energy secretary, Rodney Slater to succeed Peña as transportation secretary, Alexis Herman to become labor secretary, and Andrew Cuomo for Housing and Urban Development.
Ghana: Presidential and parliamentary elections. President Jerry John Rawlings of the National Democratic Congress wins with 57.4% of the vote, followed by John Agyekum Kufuor of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) with 39.6% and Edward Mahama of the People's National Convention (PNC) with 3%. The president's party also wins the parliamentary ballot, with 133 out of 200 seats, compared to 60 for the NPP, 5 for the People's Convention Party, and 1 for the PNC. Turnout is 77.9%.
France: Former acting president (1969, 1974) Alain Poher dies.
New Zealand: Prime Minister Jim Bolger forms a government with Winston Peters as treasurer and Jack Elder as internal affairs minister.
Croatia: Interior Minister Ivan Jarnjak is sacked. He is replaced by Ivan Penic on December 16.
Bosnia and Herzegovina: The presidency nominates Haris Silajdzic and Boro Bosic as co-prime ministers.
Canada: Prime Minister Jean Chrétien appoints A.M. House as lieutenant governor of Newfoundland, Hilary M. Weston as lieutenant governor of Ontario, and Lise Thibault as lieutenant governor of Quebec.
Romania: Bucharest mayor Victor Ciorbea is sworn in as prime minister. His government includes Adrian Severin as foreign minister, Victor Babiuc as defense minister, Gavril Dejeu as interior minister, and Mircea Ciumara as finance minister.
United Kingdom: The Labour Party wins a by-election in Barnsley East with 78% of the vote. The Liberal Democrat candidate gets 8%, the Conservative 7%, and the Socialist Labour candidate 5%. Prime Minister John Major's Conservative government no longer has a majority in Parliament and depends on the support of the Ulster Unionists.
Australia: In state elections in Western Australia, Premier Richard Court's Liberal Party wins 29 seats in the 57-member Legislative Assembly, the Labor Party 19, the National Party 6, and independents 3. Turnout is 90%.
Gabon: President Omar Bongo's Democratic Party wins 47 of 55 seats decided in the first round of parliamentary elections. The main opposition National Woodcutters Rally wins 3 seats.
Bulgaria: Former prime minister (1971-81) Stanko Todorov dies.
Czech Republic: Justice Minister Jan Kalvoda resigns.
Tuvalu: A parliamentary no-confidence motion against Prime Minister Kamuta Latasi carries with 7 votes out of 12. On December 23 Bikenibeu Paeniu is elected prime minister.
United Nations: The General Assembly elects Kofi Annan of Ghana as secretary-general.
Bosnia and Herzegovina: Edhem Bicakcic becomes prime minister of the Muslim-Croat federation.
France: Former president of the Regional Council of Haute-Normandie (1986-92) Roger Fossé dies.
South Africa: Ivy Matsepe-Casaburri becomes premier of the Free State.
Panama: Former foreign minister (1994-96) Gabriel Lewis Galindo dies.
Marshall Islands: President Amata Kabua dies. Kunio Lemari becomes acting president.
Poland: Leszek Miller is named interior minister, effective January 1.
Bulgaria: Prime Minister Zhan Videnov resigns.
Canada: Former lieutenant governor of Nova Scotia (1973-78) Clarence L. Gosse dies.
Niger: President Ibrahim Baré Maïnassara drops Prime Minister Boukary Adji and appoints Finance Minister Amadou Cissé to head a new government. Ibrahim Hassane Mayaki replaces André Salifou as foreign minister.
Russia: In the second round of presidential elections in Khakassia, Aleksey Lebed wins with 71.9% against Yevgeny Reznikov with 19.8%. In presidential elections in the Mari El republic, Vyacheslav Kislitsyn leads with 47.5% of the vote and will meet Leonid Markelov (28.9%) in a second round. Incumbent Vladislav Zotin gets only 9.8%. In the republic of Sakha, President Mikhail Nikolayev wins with 60% of the vote, ahead of A. Alekseyev with 26.1%.
Moldova: Igor Smirnov is reelected president of the breakaway Dniester Republic, capturing 72% of the vote against 20% for Vladimir Malakhov.
Vietnam: Former acting president (1980-81) Nguyen Huu Tho dies.
Zaire: A new cabinet is named, headed again by Prime Minister Kengo Wa Dondo. Gérard Kamanda Wa Kamanda replaces Jean-Marie Kititwa as foreign minister, and Likulia Bolongo replaces Banza Mulkalayi as defense minister.
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines: Former governor (1970-76) Sir Rupert John dies.
Comoros: President Mohamed Taki appoints Ahmed Abdou as prime minister.
Gabon: In the second round of parliamentary elections, President Omar Bongo's Democratic Party again wins most of the seats. It will have a total of 100 out of 120 seats in the National Assembly.
Madagascar: With 50.7% of the vote, Didier Ratsiraka wins the presidential election runoff against Albert Zafy. Turnout is 51%.