January 2009


Montenegro: Former chairman of the Executive Council (1969-74) Zarko Bulajic dies.

Switzerland: Hans-Rudolf Merz takes office as president. Claude Lässer becomes president of the Council of State of Fribourg, Hansjörg Trachsel president of the government of Graubünden, Michel Probst president of the government of Jura, Max Pfister president of the government of Luzern, Rosmarie Widmer Gysel president of the government of Schaffhausen, Klaus Fischer Landammann of Solothurn, and Peter Hegglin Landammann of Zug.
United States: Sam Adams takes office as mayor of Portland.


Belgium: Parliament gives the government of Prime Minister Herman Van Rompuy a vote of confidence (88-45).


Guinea: Kabiné Komara takes office as prime minister. On January 14 a government is named including Alexandre Cécé Loua as foreign minister and Capt. Mamadou Sandé as finance minister; Lieut.Col. Sékouba Konaté is confirmed as defense minister and Gen. Mamadouba Toto Camara as security minister.
Guinea-Bissau: Carlos Gomes Júnior takes office as prime minister. His government, named on January 7, includes Adiato Djaló Nandigna as foreign minister, Artur Silva as defense minister, José Mário Vaz as finance minister, and Lúcio Soares as interior minister.

Puerto Rico: Luis Fortuño is sworn in as governor.
United Arab Emirates: The ruler of Umm al-Qaiwain, Sheikh Rashid ibn Ahmad Al Mu`alla, dies. The new ruler is his son Sheikh Saud ibn Rashid Al Mu`alla.


Italy: Gianni Chiodi takes office as president of Abruzzo.
United States: Mark Begich resigns as mayor of Anchorage and Matt Claman is sworn in as acting mayor.
Zimbabwe: Finance Minister Samuel Mumbengegwi is dismissed. On January 6, Patrick Chinamasa is appointed as acting finance minister.


India: Former chief minister of Tripura (1988-92) Sudhir Ranjan Majumdar dies.
Madagascar: In a cabinet reshuffle, Gervais Rakotonirina is appointed as interior minister.
United States: Bill Richardson withdraws as commerce secretary nominee.



Bangladesh: Sheikh Hasina Wajed is asked to form a new government. She is sworn in as prime minister on January 6 with her cabinet, the portfolios being announced later in the day, Hasina herself taking defense while Dipu Moni becomes foreign minister, Sahara Khatun home minister, and Abul Maal Abdul Muhith finance minister.

India: Omar Abdullah is sworn in as chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir.
United States: Former attorney general (1977-79) Griffin B. Bell dies.


Honduras: Defense Minister Arístides Mejía is appointed as vice president, Foreign Minister Ángel Edmundo Orellana as defense minister, and Patricia Isabel Rodas Baca as foreign minister; they are sworn in on January 31.
India: Former chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir (1984-86) Ghulam Mohammad Shah dies.
North Korea: It is reported that Kim Wan Su has been appointed finance minister at some time in recent months.
Pakistan: The Legislative Assembly of Azad Kashmir removes Prime Minister Sardar Attique Ahmed Khan from office in a no-confidence vote in which he receives 17 votes; his opponent, Sardar Muhammad Yaqoob Khan, receives 31 votes and is then sworn in as prime minister.
Papua New Guinea: James Tanis is sworn in as president of Bougainville.


Atta Mills
Ghana: John Atta Mills takes office as president. On January 27 Atta Mills nominates Mohammed Mumuni as foreign minister, J.H. Smith as defense minister, Cletus Avoka as interior minister, and Kwabena Duffuor as finance minister.
Greece: In a cabinet reshuffle, Yiannis Papathanassiou is appointed as finance minister. The new cabinet is sworn in on January 8.
Guatemala: President Álvaro Colom dismisses Interior Minister Francisco Jiménez and appoints Salvador Gándara to the post.


Somalia: The parliament of Puntland elects Abdirahman Mohamed Farole as president of the self-declared autonomous state. In the third round of voting he receives 49 votes and Abdullahi Ahmed Ilkajir 17. Incumbent Mohamud Muse Hersi was defeated in the second round. Farole is sworn in immediately.


United States: Beverly Perdue is sworn in as governor of North Carolina.


China: Hu Chunhua is elected governor of Hebei, and Bagatur chairman of the government of Nei Mongol.
India: The chief minister of Jharkhand, Shibu Soren, resigns. On January 19 the state is placed under president's rule.
Kuwait: The new cabinet of Prime Minister Sheikh Nasser Muhammad Al Ahmad Al Sabah is sworn in, with no change in the key portfolios.
United States: Jay Nixon is sworn in as governor of Missouri.


Jamaica: The retirement of Governor-General Sir Kenneth Hall, effective February 26, is announced. He is to be replaced by Patrick Allen.
Papua New Guinea: Sir Ebia Olewale, former foreign minister (1977-80), dies.
Romania: Interior Minister Gabriel Oprea resigns. Dan Nica is acting interior minister from January 14 to January 21, when Liviu Dragnea takes office as new minister.



Kyrgyzstan: Marat Sultanov is appointed finance minister. On January 15 Ednan Karabayev resigns as foreign minister and Medet Sadyrkulov is offered the post, but he declines on January 19. On January 26 Kadyrbek Sarbayev is appointed foreign minister.


China: Wang Jun is elected governor of Shanxi.

Palau: Johnson Toribiong takes office as president. On January 21 he nominates Sandra Pierantozzi as minister of state.


Russia: Viktor Zimin takes office as chairman of the government of Khakassia and Nikita Belykh as governor of Kirov oblast.


China: Guo Gengmao is elected governor of Henan.


Central African Republic: President François Bozizé dissolves the government of Prime Minister Faustin Archange Touadéra. On January 19 Bozizé reappoints Touadéra as prime minister and the new cabinet is announced with Gen. Antoine Gambi as foreign minister, Jean-Francis Bozizé (son of the president) as defense minister, Gen. Jules Bernard Ouandé as national security minister, and Albert Besse as finance minister.
El Salvador: In parliamentary elections, the Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front wins 42.6% of the votes (35 of 84 seats), the Nationalist Republican Alliance 38.6% (32), the National Conciliation Party 8.8% (11), the Christian Democratic Party 6.9% (5), and Democratic Change 2.1% (1).
Germany: In state elections in Hessen, the Christian Democratic Union wins 37.2% of the vote (46 of 118 seats), the Social Democratic Party 23.7% (29), the Free Democratic Party 16.2% (20), the Greens 13.7% (17), and the Left 5.4% (6). Turnout is 61%.


South Korea: Yoon Jeung Hyun is named to replace Kang Man Soo as finance minister.
Peru: Luis Carranza is sworn in as finance minister following the resignation of Luis Valdivieso.




United States: Barack Obama and Joe Biden are inaugurated as president and vice president. Jack Markell is sworn in as governor of Delaware. The Senate, with a single voice vote, confirms Steven Chu as energy secretary, Arne Duncan as education secretary, Janet Napolitano as homeland security secretary, Eric Shinseki as veterans affairs secretary, Ken Salazar as interior secretary, and Tom Vilsack as agriculture secretary. Napolitano then resigns as governor of Arizona and Jan Brewer becomes governor. On January 21 Hillary Clinton is confirmed (94-2) and sworn in as secretary of state; the other confirmed secretaries are sworn in the same day. On January 22 the Senate confirms by voice vote Shaun Donovan as secretary of housing and urban development (sworn in January 26), Ray LaHood as transportation secretary (sworn in January 23), Susan Rice as UN ambassador (taking office January 26), and Lisa P. Jackson as administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (sworn in January 26). On January 26 Timothy Geithner is confirmed (60-34) and sworn in as treasury secretary.


Turkmenistan: Yaylim Berdiyev is appointed as defense minister.


Cambodia: Former prime minister (1962) Chau Sen Cocsal Chhum dies.


Canada: Former commissioner of the Northwest Territories (1995-99) and Nunavut (1999-2000) Helen Maksagak dies.
Kenya: Uhuru Kenyatta is appointed finance minister.
Slovakia: Miroslav Lajcák is named foreign minister; he is appointed by the president on January 26.
United States: Former governor of North Carolina (1969-73) Robert W. Scott dies.


Japan: In gubernatorial elections in Yamagata (turnout 65.5%), Mieko Yoshimura defeats incumbent Hiroshi Saito, 50.9%-49.1%, and in Gifu (turnout 38.4%), incumbent Hajime Furuta defeats Kazuhiko Kinoshita, 80.5%-19.5%.
Senegal: Former prime minister (1958-62) Mamadou Dia dies.


Iceland: The government of Prime Minister Geir H. Haarde resigns. On January 27 President Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson asks the leader of the Social Democratic Alliance, Ingibjörg Sólrún Gísladóttir, to take the lead in forming a new government (expected to be headed by Jóhanna Sigurdardóttir).
Solomon Islands: Sir Donald Luddington, former high commissioner for the Western Pacific (1973-74) and governor of the Solomon Islands (1974-76), dies.


India: Former president (1987-92) Ramaswamy Venkataraman dies.
Japan: Former foreign minister (1994) Koji Kakizawa dies.
Nigeria: The governor of Yobe, Mamman Ali, dies. Deputy Governor Ibrahim Gaidam is sworn in as governor.


Burundi: In a cabinet reshuffle, Augustin Nsanze becomes foreign minister and Édouard Nduwimana interior minister.
Tajikistan: Abdurahim Qahhorov is appointed interior minister.
United States: The Senate of Illinois votes 59-0 to remove Governor Rod Blagojevich from office. Lieutenant Governor Pat Quinn is sworn in as governor.


Georgia: Prime Minister Grigol Mgaloblishvili resigns. Finance Minister Nika Gilauri is nominated as new prime minister.
Saint Lucia: A cabinet reshuffle is announced, effective February 2, which involves Prime Minister Stephenson King giving up the external affairs portfolio to Rufus Bousquet.
United States: Former governor of Alabama (1987-93) Guy Hunt dies.


Somalia: The parliament, meeting in Djibouti, elects Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed as president. He defeats Maslah Mohamed Siad in a runoff vote, 293-126.