'Election of new AU Commission Chairperson to hold in six months'

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (PANA) - Following the failure of AU Commission Chairperson Jean Ping to win a second term after four rounds of voting at the ongoing AU Summit here Monday, indications are that the leaders will make another attempt to elect the chairperson in the next six months.

Ping, who ran as a sole candidate in the fourth round, after the withdrawal of his South African opponent Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma at the end of the third round, got 31 votes, short of the absolute majority required to win,

At least 20 empty ballot papers were posted in the transparent ballot box used for the election, a development that observers at the Summit.

Initial indications are that none of the two candidates who fought for the top seat Monday will  be candidates at the next elections, planned for the 19th AU Summit in Lilongwe, Malawi.

However, there is an ongoing debate on whether Dlamini-Zuma should be eligible to re-apply for the post, on the basis of her non-participation in the fourth round.

AU Commission’s Deputy Chairperson Erastus Mwencha, who was running as a sole candidate for his re-election, is slated to be the interim Chairperson until fresh elections are held.

Ping was elected in January 2008 and took over effective control during a Summit at the Egyptian resort of Sharm El Sheikh.

His failure to rally the continent against the West's unilateral action against Libya was seen as a major diplomatic failure.

South Africa's challenge to his record on the basis of the AU's limited role in resolving the Libya and Cote d’Ivoire crisis also appeared to weaken him considerably ahead of Monday's election.
-0- PANA AO/SEG 30Jan2012

30 january 2012 14:06:10

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