No new Unesco head after first round of voting

September 18th, 2009 - 5:11 am ICT by IANS  

Paris, Sep 18 (DPA) Controversial Egyptian Culture Minister Farouk Hosny failed to get the necessary majority late Thursday in the first round of voting to find a successor to outgoing Unesco director general Koichiro Matsuura.
According to diplomats close to Unesco, the 71-year-old Hosny received 22 votes from the 58 members of the organisation’s executive council, well short of a majority.

In the run-up to the vote, Hosny and many observers had credited him with as many as 32 votes, enough to be elected to the post.

However, according to sources close to Unesco and foreign diplomats, the United States has been waging an undercover campaign against his candidacy.

Hosny is accused of making a number of public declarations described as anti-Semitic, such as his statement last year that he would personally burn any Israeli book found in the library of Alexandria.

Hosny faced eight other candidates for the post. Irina Bokova of Bulgaria received eight votes, while Austria’s Benita Ferrero-Waldner, the EU External Relations Commissioner, and Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Yakowenko both drew seven votes.

The next round of voting is scheduled for Friday. A total of five rounds can be held if no one receives a majority. The winner must be confirmed during a General Assembly Oct 15.

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