Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

AFRICA NEWS

Frenchman kidnapped in Algeria: 'IS'-linked jihadists claim abduction of 55 year-old tourist

Read more

DEBATE

What's the deal with Turkey? (part 2)

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

The Sarkozy soap opera

Read more

DEBATE

What's the deal with Turkey?

Read more

LIFESTYLES

New road trip

Read more

LIFESTYLES

High-tech in France

Read more

DOWN TO EARTH

Global warming: A drowning planet

Read more

THE BUSINESS INTERVIEW

Christian Kastrop, Director of Policy Studies, OECD

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Sarkozy's political comeback: Did he ever leave?

Read more

France

Controversial Egyptian candidate faces third vote round for chief post

Video by Luke BROWN , Meriem AMELLAL

Text by NEWS WIRES

Latest update : 2009-09-19

After failing to get the required 30 votes to get the job as UNESCO’s director-general, Egyptian culture minister Farouk Hosni faces a third round of voting Saturday. Hosni's bid for the post has been clouded by anti-Semitism allegations.

AFP - Egypt's controversial candidate for UNESCO director general failed to win an absolute majority in a ballot of world envoys on Friday, with the vote now set to head to a third round, a spokesman said.
  
Envoys to the United Nations cultural organisation started voting Thursday for a successor to Japan's Koichiro Matsuura as director general, with the Faruq Hosni, Egypt's culture minister for 22 years, seen as the frontrunner.
  
One of nine candidates, Hosni fell short of the 30 votes needed to win election, and a third ballot was set for Saturday, the UNESCO spokesman said.
  
According to a diplomat at the organisation, the 71-year-old Hosni secured 23 of the votes from UNESCO's 58-nation executive council.
  
Hosni nevertheless held a comfortable lead over his three nearest rivals: European Commissioner for External Relations Benita Ferrero-Waldner with nine votes, Bulgarian ex-foreign minister Irina Bokova, who won eight, as did Ecuador's Ivonne Baki.
  
The Egyptian is seeking to become the first representative from the Arab world to head the UN agency mandated to promote global understanding through culture, education and science.
  
Supporters say the Egyptian's election would send a positive signal from the West to the Muslim world, but the race has been clouded by charges that anti-Israel comments made last year make him unfit for the role.
  
Hosni's detractors include Auschwitz survivor and Nobel laureate Elie Wiesel, who says his appointment would "shame" the global community, as well as the Nazi-hunting Simon Wiesenthal Centre and US and French intellectuals.
  
In his long career, Hosni has often been accused of promoting anti-Semitism, in particular when he told the Egyptian parliament in May last year: "I'd burn Israeli books myself if I found any in libraries in Egypt."
  
Fighting off the charges ahead of the first round of voting, Hosni insisted his comment was part of an angry exchange with hardliners from the Muslim Brotherhood and was taken out of context.
  
He told France 24 television he had been referring only to "Israeli books that insult Islam," which he was accused of tolerating in Egypt's libraries.
  
The appointment is to be endorsed in October by the 193-member assembly of UNESCO.
 

Date created : 2009-09-19

COMMENT(S)