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Fourth round of UNESCO elections kicks off Thursday

Thu, Oct. 12, 2017
CAIRO – 12 October 2017: Amid allegations of electoral bribery, Egypt's candidate to the post of director-general of UNESCO, Moushira Khattab, steadily makes her way to the quasi-decisive fourth round, following the 13 votes she garnered in the third one.

According to observers and political experts, these backstage actions denote suspicions around the relationship between Qatar and France.

Such a deal is seen to have two possible aims; the first is to force Egypt to fold to France in the last round of elections, and the second is to limit the competition between the French and Qatari candidates, aiding the French one in winning.

An interview by Egypt Today with Egypt’s top diplomat Sameh Shoukry suggested Qatar was using its financial power to influence UNESCO’s 58-member executive council.

Four Arab nations, namely Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, have been boycotting the tiny emirate of Qatar since May, accusing it of sponsoring hard-line Islamist groups and supporting terrorism.

Qatar is apparently ready to grant the position to France, in order to cut off Egypt’s way to the post and ensure France as an ally.

The winning candidate must obtain 30 votes, which did not occur in the first round but possible by a potential fifth round, which is to be held on Friday. The candidates who amassed the highest number of votes in the fourth round will compete in the fifth.

The new director-general of UNESCO will be named on October 13. Then, 195 members in the General Conference will be appointed in view of recommendations from UNESCO’s Executive Board.
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