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Heads Of State

November 7, 2008 | From Times Staff and Wire Reports
Italy's famously impolitic Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi described U.S. President-elect Barack Obama on Thursday as "young, handsome and even tanned." Berlusconi appeared to be joking about America's first black president at a news conference after talks with Russia's president. It wasn't the only perhaps unwelcome comment about Obama's victory. In a rare conciliatory gesture, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad issued a letter of congratulations.
July 31, 2008 | From Times Wire Reports
Paraguayan President-elect Fernando Lugo has received unprecedented permission from the pope to resign as bishop, Papal Nuncio Orlando Antonini said. Church officials earlier insisted that Lugo, 57, would always be a bishop under church law. Lugo made history in April with his presidential election victory, which ended the 61-year rule of the Colorado Party. The former "bishop of the poor" takes office Aug. 15. Church rules bar priests from political office.
July 26, 2008 | Paul Richter, Times Staff Writer
Barack Obama's electoral rival is John McCain, but Obama's overseas trip this week has given heartburn to another Republican -- President Bush. In stop after stop across the Middle East and Europe, Obama was embraced as the man whose promise of change meant a change from Bush: on Iraq, Mideast peace, the treatment of terrorism suspects, climate change, alliance relations and more. The tour has brought into focus how world leaders already are positioning themselves for a new American president.
July 19, 2008 | From Times Wire Reports
President Alvaro Uribe has scrapped his plan to rerun the 2006 election in which he was reelected, the government said, a move that could set the stage for him to seek a third term in 2010. Uribe said last month that he would try to repeat the vote after the Supreme Court ruled that the constitutional amendment that allowed him to run for and win a second term was tainted by corruption. He has now dropped that plan. Uribe's popularity shot up to 91% after this month's dramatic rescue of 15 rebel-held hostages, including French-Colombian politician Ingrid Betancourt.
June 30, 2008 | From a Times Staff Writer
As Robert Mugabe was inaugurated Sunday to a new five-year term as Zimbabwe's president, critics and analysts warned that his pattern of violent revenge against opponents could be repeated in coming months in an attempt to destroy his chief rival's party. The announcement of Mugabe's inauguration at the State House in Harare and the issuing of invitations were so hasty that both came several hours before the results of Friday's one-man presidential runoff were released.
June 10, 2008 | From Bloomberg News
South Korea's entire Cabinet, including Prime Minister Han Seung-soo, offered to resign today to take responsibility for the government's handling of beef imports. Han and the other 15 Cabinet ministers told President Lee Myung-bak that they would step down, said Kim Wang-ky, a spokesman for Han. Lee agreed in April to lift a ban on American beef to win support from U.S.
May 31, 2008 | From Times wire reports
The main opposition group declared itself Zimbabwe's new ruling party and convened what it called a session of parliament in defiance of President Robert Mugabe. Movement for Democratic Change leader Morgan Tsvangirai asked his party's lawmakers to stand for a minute's silence for the more than 50 people who have died in violence since March elections. He promised "a new and different era of governance." The opposition won 110 of the 210 seats in parliament. Tsvangirai faces Mugabe in a June 27 runoff for president.
April 21, 2008 | Patrick J. McDonnell, Times Staff Writer
A former Roman Catholic bishop who championed the downtrodden and challenged the long-entrenched political elite was elected Paraguay's president Sunday, ending six decades of one-party rule in this South American nation. Fernando Lugo, 56, dubbed "the bishop of the poor," was leading by 10 percentage points with more than 90% of the results in, electoral officials said. He had about 41% of the vote to about 31% for his chief opponent, Blanca Ovelar of the ruling Colorado Party.
April 3, 2008 | Robyn Dixon, Times Staff Writer
President Robert Mugabe's party has lost its majority in parliament after 28 years in power, election officials announced Wednesday, as the aging Zimbabwean leader faced a more damaging blow: the virtual certainty of a runoff in the presidential race that he has scant hope of winning.
April 2, 2008 | Robyn Dixon, Times Staff Writer
Zimbabwe opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai claimed Tuesday to have defeated President Robert Mugabe in Saturday's presidential election and called on the longtime leader to respect voters' will. In his first public appearance since the vote, Tsvangirai endorsed official results released thus far and said any talks on a smooth transition could occur only after the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission's final announcement of the tally.
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