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13 October 2017, 09:43 | Opal Carroll
US Jewish Groups Express Alarm as Antisemitism-Tainted Qatari Candidate Closes in on UNESCO Chief Post
To win the post of the UNESCO director general, a candidate should get an absolute majority of 30 votes of the 58-member board in any of the four rounds of the vote that kicked off on Monday and will run until October 12.
The last minute entry in March of Azoulay annoyed many UNESCO member states who thought that since France has the honor of hosting the agency it shouldn't field a candidate.
The victor must be approved by UNESCO's 195 member states in November, though this is seen as a formality.
Azoulay would become the second French leader of the organization since Rene Maheu served as director-general in 1961-74.
Egypt's foreign ministry has demanded an inquiry into alleged "violations" during the UNESCO voting.
Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry made the request at a meeting on Friday with incumbent UNESCO chief Irina Bokova, a spokesman for the Foreign Ministry, Ahmed Zeid added.
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Egypt's candidate for the post of Director-General of UNESCO, Moushira Khattab, passed the third round of the organization's elections held in Paris, France, where no candidate has gained an absolute majority of votes so far.
Qatar's Hamad bin Abdulaziz al-Kawari came ahead of the Egyptian and French candidates, who each got 18 votes in this round.
In addition, the UNESCO vote comes as Egypt and three other Arab nations continue a months-long boycott of Qatar over allegations that the government funds extremists and has overly warm ties to Iran.
The victor will succeed outgoing Director-General Irina Bokova, whose eight-year term was marred by financial woes and criticism over Palestine's inclusion as a member.
On Thursday, just before the final round of votes, the USA said it planned to pull out of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization citing among other things its anti-Israel bias.
The board has held secret ballot votes every day this week, whittling down the seven candidate to Azoulay and former Qatari culture minister Hamad bin Abdulaziz al-Kawari.
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