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Five vying for IAEA top job in second-round vote
VIENNA, April 28 |
VIENNA, April 28 (Reuters) - Five diplomats from Europe, Africa and Asia will vie to succeed U.N. nuclear watchdog chief Mohamed ElBaradei in a second-round election after an inconclusive initial vote, officials said on Tuesday.
It was doubtful whether any would be able to garner the 2/3 majority in the International Atomic Energy Agency's 35-nation governing body needed for victory without some dropping out to avoid fragmenting the election returns, diplomats said.
The IAEA director-general's post is a key global appointment since the agency aims to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons, with Iran's disputed atomic programme under investigation, and promote peaceful uses of atomic energy in the developing world.
Algeria, current chairman of the IAEA's Board of Governors, circulated candidates' credentials to fellow missions after the expiry of Monday's deadline for nominations.
In a confidential note obtained by Reuters, Algerian Ambassador Taous Feroukhi told other governors she would soon begin consultations on the nominees.
Diplomats said this was to assess which contenders had a real chance of victory and nudge others to bow out, possibly by using straw polls ahead of the election expected in late May.
ElBaradei retires in November but IAEA governors want his successor chosen months before to ensure a smooth handover with U.N. nuclear inspectors embroiled in investigations of Iran and Syria and the agency struggling to resolve a budget crisis.
The candidates are:
* Luis Echavarri, 60, a Spaniard who heads the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development's nuclear energy arm in Paris, and formerly Spain's nuclear regulatory chief.
* Jean-Pol Poncelet, 59, a former Belgian defence and energy minister who is now senior vice president for sustainable development at French nuclear group Areva.
* Ernest Petric, 72, a Slovenian constitutional court judge who was his country's ambassador to the IAEA in 2002-08.
* Yukiya Amano, 62, Japanese ambassador to the IAEA and a veteran of multilateral negotiations on nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation.
* Abdul Samad Minty, 69, South Africa's veteran IAEA ambassador and a disarmament expert known for mediation in negotiations that extended the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and follow-up review meetings.
In inconclusive balloting a month ago, Amano outpolled Minty but fell just short of a winning a two-thirds majority.
Industrialised, mainly Western countries overwhelmingly backed Amano while developing states generally supported Minty.
The slate was then wiped clean for new nominees in hopes of attracting someone able to command enough of a consensus to overcome chronic divisions between rich and poor nations over IAEA priorities that have hampered the agency. (Editing by Richard Williams)
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