After an unusually acrimonious management battle, the Worldwide Group for Migration kicked off an election on Monday to find out whether or not its present chief or certainly one of his deputies ought to run the United Nations company.
The IOM’s 175 member states face a selection between backing former Portuguese authorities minister Antonio Vitorino for a second time period, or supporting his US deputy Amy Pope to steer the organisation for the following 5 years.
The key poll is happening at a Geneva convention centre, and observers stated it might take a number of voting rounds, probably spilling into Tuesday, earlier than a winner is asserted.
The IOM was based in 1951 to deal with the displacements in Europe following World Struggle II however solely turned a UN company seven years in the past.
The race for the highest job on the organisation comes at a crucial time, as international numbers of migrants soar.
The Geneva-based physique is the main worldwide physique addressing the wants of some 281 million migrants all through the world, in response to a 2020 estimate.
The drawn-out marketing campaign for the director normal place has brought about a rift between Washington — which has invested closely in ushering an American again into a historically US-held management function — and its European allies, observers say.
– Shock problem –
“It does appear to have brought about a certain quantity of diplomatic consternation,” Megan Bradley, an affiliate professor at McGill College in Montreal and an skilled on the IOM, advised AFP.
Inside the UN system, company chiefs who want to tackle a second time period are usually shooed in with out problem.
When Pope introduced her candidacy in October, “it was a little bit of a shock”, a European diplomat in Geneva acknowledged to AFP on situation of anonymity.
“It was not seen as a pleasant transfer.”
Vitorino, a 66-year-old former Portuguese defence minister and deputy prime minister who turned IOM chief in 2018, has in the meantime appeared defiant.
“All my predecessors for 70 years made two mandates, and I do not see any cause for a profitable first mandate to not be adopted by a second mandate,” he advised AFP in March.
Vitorino enjoys notably sturdy assist from European nations and has been praised for successfully main the quickly increasing organisation.
However Pope, 49, who if elected could be the primary girl to run the company, insisted to AFP earlier this yr that there was “numerous room for enchancment”, saying she had the imaginative and prescient wanted to take IOM “into the twenty first century”.
– ‘Tight race’ –
With an extended profession in migration and catastrophe reduction, together with within the administration of former US president Barack Obama, Pope has high-level backing.
US President Joe Biden weighed in final week, saying he knew from expertise working straight with Pope that “she is the best individual for the job”.
And on election day on Monday, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken tweeted that Pope’s “modern folks first strategy will change the best way nations deal with migration, with options that work for everybody”.
However Bradley stated Washington’s push is perhaps much less in regards to the people concerned than in regards to the “long-standing custom of getting their candidate function the director normal”.
Vitorino is just the second non-American to guide the organisation, and the primary in many years.
In 2018, he received by acclamation after member states rebuffed a candidate accused of local weather change denial and anti-Muslim bigotry who had been proposed by then US president Donald Trump.
It stays unclear which manner Monday’s vote will go.
Either side say they anticipate their candidate to acquire the two-thirds majority wanted to win, though the European diplomat acknowledged “it will likely be a good race”.