Mike Moore, the former Prime Minister of New Zealand and former leader of the Labour Party, NZLP, was appointed Director-General of the World Trade Organisation, taking up the post on 1 September.

Moore, the first non-European to hold the position, made expanding trading opportunities for the world's poorest countries a top priority for his three-year term. He will be overseeing the new round of world trade negotiations which is due to start in Seattle in November.

Commenting on the challenges for the global trading system in the new millennium, Moore said: "While the nation state remains the core unit of global economic, social and political organisation, a defining feature of our time is that no country is viable in isolation, no matter how large it is. Cooperation is not a choice, it is indispensable to survive".


Elio Di Rupo was elected President of the Belgian Socialist Party, PS, on 9 October. For the first time in the party's history the election was carried out by a poll of all members. DiRupo received 28,208 or 71.4 per cent of the 39,510 valid votes cast.

Born at Morlanwelz in 1951, Di Rupo holds a science doctorate from the State University at Mons and after a period of research became a lecturer in the University of Leeds in England. He has taught at the University of Mons-Hainault since 1991.

He became a councillor at Mons in 1982 and seven years later was elected to the European Parliament and entered the Belgian Senate in 1991, then was elected as a Deputy in 1995. In 1999 Di Rupo became Minister-President of the government of Wallonia, which comprises much of the southern and eastern region of Belgium.


Enrique Barón is the new leader of the Parliamentary Group of the Party of European Socialists and Christine Verger its Secretary General.


Amalia García Medina is the National President of the Democratic Revolutionary Party, PRD, Mexico, and Jesús Zambrano Grijalva is the General Secretary. Juan José García Ochoa is the International Secretary.


Jorge Antonio Meléndez is the President of the Democratic Party, PD, El Salvador.


Altan Öymen is the new Chair of the Republican People's Party, CHP, Turkey, Tarhan Erdem is the General Secretary, and Sule Bucak is Deputy General Secretary and is responsible for international affairs.


The Democratic Revolutionary Party, PRD, Panama, at its VI Congress, elected Balbina Herrera President and Martín Torrijos Espino as Secretary General.


Lars Stjernkvist is the new General Secretary of the Swedish Social Democratic Party, SAP, and Urban Ahlin its Deputy General Secretary.


Colette Avital, a former ambassador, is the new international secretary of the Israel Labour Party.


The new International Secretary of the Czech Social Democratic Party, CSSD, is Vladimír Müller.


The Lithuanian Social Democratic Party, LSDP, has a new international secretary, Vidmantas Verbickas.



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