Afghanistan: A presidential decree directs all deputy ministers to become acting ministers, pending the appointment of a new cabinet. Exemptions include the foreign and finance ministers. Thus, Enayatullah Nazari becomes acting defense minister and Gen. Ayoub Salangi acting interior minister. On December 12 Atiqullah Atifmal is appointed acting foreign minister and Mohammad Mustafa Mastoor acting finance minister.
Guadeloupe: Jacques Billant takes office as prefect.
United States: Bill Walker is sworn in as governor of Alaska and David Ige as governor of Hawaii.
Brazil: Francisco de Sales Guerra Neto becomes governor of Roraima after Francisco de Assis Rodrigues was deposed by an electoral court. On December 3, however, a higher court judgment allows Rodrigues to resume the office.
India: Former chief minister of Maharashtra (1980-82) A.R. Antulay dies.
Israel: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu dismisses Finance Minister Yair Lapid.
Kenya: Interior Minister Joseph Ole Lenku is removed from office and Joseph Nkaissery is nominated to replace him.
Ukraine: Parliament reappoints Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin and Defense Minister Stepan Poltorak, while Natalia Yaresko becomes finance minister.
Uruguay: President-elect Tabaré Vázquez designates Rodolfo Nin Novoa as foreign minister and Danilo Astori as economy and finance minister, with Eleuterio Fernández Huidobro to remain defense minister and Eduardo Bonomi interior minister.
Indonesia: Former governor of Kalimantan Barat (1977-88) Soedjiman dies.
Sweden: Parliament rejects (182-153) the budget presented by the prime minister, Stefan Löfven, who says he will call new elections for March 22, 2015. These are called off on December 27, however, in a deal between the government and the main opposition.
Switzerland: Simonetta Sommaruga is elected president for 2015 (181 of 210 votes). Johann Schneider-Ammann is elected vice president (173 of 195 votes).
Taiwan: Mao Chi-kuo is named premier. On December 5 his cabinet is named, unchanged in the key positions. The government is sworn in on December 8.
Australia: Daniel Andrews is sworn in as premier of Victoria.
Iceland: Ólöf Nordal is appointed interior minister.
Australia: Katy Gallagher announces her resignation as chief minister of the Australian Capital Territory, effective December 10. On December 11 Andrew Barr is elected chief minister.
Germany: The Landtag of Thüringen elects Bodo Ramelow as minister-president (46-43 in the second round of voting).
Mongolia: Prime Minister Chimed Saikhanbileg announces his cabinet with Lündeg Pürevsüren as foreign minister, Tserendash Tsolmon as defense minister, and Jargaltulga Erdenebat as finance minister. Parliament approves the cabinet on December 9-10.
United States: President Barack Obama nominates Ashton Carter as defense secretary.
Bahrain: The new cabinet is appointed with Maj.Gen. Yusuf al-Jalahma as defense minister, other key ministries being unchanged.
India: The governor of Nagaland, Padmanabha Balakrishna Acharya, receives the additional charge of Assam. Governor Janaki Ballabh Patnaik leaves Assam on December 11. Acharya is sworn in on December 12.
Somalia: Parliament passes a no-confidence motion against Prime Minister Abdiweli Sheikh Ahmed (153-80). On December 17 President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud nominates Omar Abdirashid Ali Sharmarke as prime minister. On December 24 he is approved by parliament (218-0) and sworn in.
United States: In runoffs in Louisiana, Republicans win another seat in the Senate (for a total of 54) and two in the House of Representatives (see November 4).
Congo (Kinshasa): In a cabinet reshuffle, Aimé Ngoy Mukena becomes defense minister, Évariste Boshab interior minister, and Henri Yav Mulang finance minister.
Dominica: In parliamentary elections, the ruling Dominica Labour Party wins 15 of 21 seats and the United Workers Party 6. Roosevelt Skerrit is again sworn in as prime minister on December 9 and as finance minister on December 11. The full cabinet is sworn in on December 13, including Francine Baron as foreign minister and Rayburn Blackmoore as national security minister.
Argentina: Former governor of Misiones (1975-76) Miguel Ángel Alterach dies.
Kosovo: A new government is elected (73-38) with Isa Mustafa as prime minister, Hashim Thaçi as foreign minister, Skënder Hyseni as interior minister, and Avdullah Hoti as finance minister.
Malta: Home Affairs Minister Manuel Mallia is dismissed. Carmelo Abela is sworn in as new minister.
Solomon Islands: Parliament elects Manasseh Sogavare as prime minister. He receives 31 votes, against 19 for Jeremiah Manele. On December 15 Milner Tozaka is sworn in as foreign minister and Douglas Ete as minister of home affairs, and on December 23 Snyder Rini as finance minister and Peter Shanel Agovaka as national security minister.
Vanuatu: Former president (1994-99) Jean-Marie Léyé dies.
Australia: Kate Warner is sworn in as governor of Tasmania.
Brazil: The governor of Maranhăo, Roseana Macieira Sarney Murad, resigns. Antônio Arnaldo Alves de Melo becomes governor until the inauguration of the elected governor on Jan. 1, 2015.
Italy: Mario Oliverio takes office as president of Calabria.
Lebanon: Parliament fails for the 16th time to elect a president due to lack of a quorum, the next session being set for January 7.
Mauritius: In parliamentary elections, the Alliance of the People wins 51 of 69 seats, the Labour Party-Mauritian Militant Movement coalition 16, and the Rodrigues People's Organization 2. Turnout is 74.1%. On December 14 Sir Anerood Jugnauth is named prime minister. In the new government, sworn in on December 17, Jugnauth is also defense and home affairs minister, Étienne Sinatambou foreign minister, and Vishnu Lutchmeenaraidoo finance minister.
Switzerland: Former Landammann of Uri (1988-90) Carlo Dittli dies.
Zimbabwe: President Robert Mugabe names Emmerson Mnangagwa and Phelekezela Mphoko as vice presidents (sworn in December 12).
Germany: Michael Müller is elected governing mayor of Berlin (87-58).
Greenland: Kim Kielsen is elected prime minister (16-0 with 13 abstentions). He also becomes interior minister, while Vittus Qujaukitsoq becomes foreign minister and Anda Uldum finance minister.
Pakistan: Sher Jahan Mir is sworn in as caretaker chief minister of Gilgit-Baltistan.
Germany: Former minister-president of Niedersachsen (1976-90) Ernst Albrecht dies.
Haiti: Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe resigns. On December 20 Health Minister Florence Duperval Guillaume is named acting prime minister. On December 25 President Michel Martelly nominates Evans Paul as new prime minister.
Congo (Kinshasa): The governor of Équateur, also former governor of Shaba (1986-90) and acting prime minister (2012), Louis Koyagialo, dies. Sébastien Impeto Mpengo has been acting governor already since September 2013.
Japan: In parliamentary elections, the Liberal-Democratic Party wins 291 of 475 seats, the Democratic Party of Japan 73, the Japan Innovation Party 41, Komeito 35, and the Japanese Communist Party 21. Turnout is about 53%. On December 24 Shinzo Abe is confirmed as prime minister, winning 328 votes against 73 for Katsuya Okada. His cabinet is mainly unchanged except for Gen Nakatani becoming defense minister.
Romania: In a cabinet reshuffle, Finance Minister Ioana Petrescu is replaced by Darius Valcov (sworn in December 17).
Honduras: Arturo Corrales is named foreign minister, effective Jan. 15, 2015.
Mexico: Former governor of San Luis Potosí (1991) Fausto Zapata Loredo dies.
New Caledonia: The government of President Cynthia Ligeard collapses as the Caledonia Together party withdraws. The election of a new president fails on December 31 (3 votes for Philippe Germain, 2 for Ligeard, 6 abstentions).
India: Former governor of Tripura (1989-90) Sultan Singh dies.
Italy: President Giorgio Napolitano announces he will step down in mid-January 2015.
United States: In the mayoral runoff in Austin, Steve Adler defeats Mike Martinez, 67%-33%.
Greece: Parliament fails to elect a president in the first round when Stavros Dimas wins 160 votes (200 needed). The second round on December 23 also fails, Dimas receiving 168 votes. In the third round on December 29 (now with only 180 votes required), Dimas again falls short with 168 votes, triggering early parliamentary elections. On December 31 Michalis Theocharidis is sworn in as interior minister as per the usual practice of appointing a politically neutral figure to that post ahead of elections.
Mozambique: Former high commissioner (1974-75) Vítor Crespo dies.
Sint Maarten: Formateur Theo Heyliger announces a new cabinet with Marcel Gumbs as prime minister and Martin Hassink remaining finance minister. It is sworn in on December 19.
Yemen: Parliament approves the government of Prime Minister Khaled Bahah.
India: In parliamentary elections in Jammu and Kashmir held November 25 and December 2, 9, 14, and 20, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) wins 23% of the vote (25 of 87 seats), the Jammu and Kashmir People's Democratic Party 22.7% (28), the Jammu and Kashmir National Conference 20.8% (15), the Indian National Congress 18% (12), and independents 6.8% (3). Chief Minister Omar Abdullah resigns on December 24. In elections in Jharkhand held on the same dates, the BJP wins 31.3% of the vote (37 of 81 seats), the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha 20.4% (19), the Indian National Congress 10.5% (6), the Jharkhand Vikas Morcha (Prajatantrik) 10% (8), and independents 6.7% (0). Chief Minister Hemant Soren resigns on December 23; Raghubar Das is sworn in as chief minister on December 28.
Italy: Former president of Sardegna (1970) Lucio Abis dies.
Australia: In a cabinet reshuffle, Kevin Andrews is named defence minister (sworn in December 23).
Japan: In gubernatorial elections in Miyazaki, incumbent Shunji Kono wins 83.6% of the vote and Hidesaburo Kawamura 12.9%. Turnout is 44.7%.
Romania: Klaus Johannis is sworn in as president.
Serbia: Former president of the Presidium of the League of Communists of Yugoslavia (1981-82) Dusan Dragosavac dies.
Tunisia: In the presidential runoff, Béji Caďd Essebsi (Call of Tunisia) wins 55.7% of the vote and Moncef Marzouki (Congress for the Republic) 44.3%. Essebsi is sworn in on December 31.
Uzbekistan: In the first round of parliamentary elections (turnout 88.9%), the Liberal Democratic Party wins 47 seats, the National Revival Democratic Party 28, the People's Democratic Party 21, and the Justice Social Democratic Party 17; the Ecological Movement of Uzbekistan fills its reserved 15 seats. The second round for the remaining 22 of the 150 seats will be held in January 2015.
Egypt: Former prime minister (1974-75) Abdel Aziz Hegazi dies.
Italy: Stefano Bonaccini takes office as president of Emilia-Romagna.
Brazil: Jaques Wagner is named defense minister.
India: Former governor of Himachal Pradesh (1986-90) Rustom Khushro Shapoorjee Gandhi dies.
Solomon Islands: Former governor-general (1988-94) Sir George Lepping dies.
Belgium: Former prime minister (1974-78) and foreign minister (1981-89) Léo Tindemans dies.
United States: Former governor of South Carolina (1975-79) and secretary of energy (1981-82) James B. Edwards dies.
Venezuela: Delcy Rodríguez is named foreign minister.
Belarus: President Alyaksandr Lukashenka appoints Andrey Kabyakow as prime minister.
Croatia: In the first round of presidential elections, incumbent Ivo Josipovic (independent) wins 38.5% of the vote, Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic (Croatian Democratic Union) 37.2%, Ivan Sincic (Human Wall) 16.4%, and Milan Kujundzic (Alliance for Croatia) 6.3%. Turnout is 47.1%. The runoff is to be held Jan. 11, 2015.
Tonga: Parliament elects 'Akilisi Pohiva as prime minister; he receives 15 votes against 11 for Samiu Vaipulu. Pohiva is sworn in on December 30. He also becomes foreign minister, while Fe'ao Vakata becomes internal affairs minister and 'Aisake Eke remains finance minister.
India: Aziz Qureshi, the governor of Uttarakhand, is appointed as governor of Mizoram. The governor of Meghalaya, Krishan Kant Paul, is appointed as governor of Uttarakhand while continuing to hold the additional charge of Manipur. The governor of West Bengal, Keshari Nath Tripathi, receives the additional charge of Meghalaya.
Brazil: Mauro Vieira is named foreign minister.
Cyprus: Former prime minister of North Cyprus (1976-78, 1983-85) Nejat Konuk dies.