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PARIS – 9 October 2017: The first round of UNESCO’s director-general elections witnessed some unexpected turns. The Qatari candidate managed to amass more votes than was ever expected, amid suspicions that this was a move by major member states to close the race between the Qatari candidate and one of their own.
The move is believed to prevent Egypt’s candidate, Moushira Khattab, and simultaneously the Qatari candidate from taking the position. It is meant to force member states into electing the candidate that is left competing with Qatar’s al-Kawari.
Sources within UNESCO that are aware of the political bonds between member states at the moment have disclosed, at the condition of anonymity, that “the process of elections currently taking place for UNESCO’s director-general will reveal political nets and goals that far outreach the elections for this post.”
Those sources have added that “those who have voted for the Qatari candidate have forgotten that bringing him to the forefront of the candidates will in effect bring shame to an organization meant to be a safeguard for culture, heritage, civilization, history, and sciences. It will in effect be a stigma attached to the entire international community’s forehead, especially the major states that have always called for the prevention of politicizing the organization’s endeavors, and respect to human rights.”
“Maybe it would do good if the elections come to favor the Qatari candidate, to show everyone how opportunist some states are, and to allow some member states to reevaluate their values and the values of UNESCO in all its endeavors and missions,” the sources speculated.
They also clarified that the politicization of UNESCO will become a fact and a reality if the Qatari candidate, or another candidate from the major member states that have prepared this scenario, wins the position. “It will be beyond repair, and its missions of bettering human rights – the sole reason that the UNESCO was created – will become null and useless,” they added.
The first round of the elections for the director-general post ended with Egypt’s candidate, Khattab, amassing 11 votes, while Qatari Hamad Abdul Aziz al-Kawari amassed 19, and France's Audrey Azoulay received 13. Lebanese candidate Vera El Khoury amassed five votes, and Pham Sanh Chau of Vietnam and Polad Bülbüloglu of Azerbaijan gained two votes each.
The Qatari candidates’ 19 votes have shocked many UNESCO member states, as was noted by many representatives in the organization. It is an almost certainty for them that the Qatari candidate succeeded in the first round of elections by using his “money weapon;” that is, in addition to the links and pledges secured by a major state attempting to execute its plan in the elections to attain its interests.