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Dhaka Tribune

Shahidul Haque falls short of becoming IOM deputy DG

Fresh elections are likely to be held in November

Update : 27 Jun 2019, 12:48 AM

Bangladesh Foreign Secretary Shahidul Haque, who was vying to become the deputy director general of the International Organization for Migration (IOM), fell short of the required votes to win the election, according to officials at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

During the rescheduled election on Wednesday in Geneva, Shahidul, the lone candidate, was required to prove that he had the support of two-thirds majority of the member states present.

A total of 144 out of the 173 member states of IOM, the United Nations migration agency, were present at the polls, and of them, he secured the support of 86 members – 10 short of the required votes.

Now, according to the IOM rules, the whole election process will have to begin afresh.

It is not yet clear if Foreign Secretary Shahidul Haque will be a candidate to become the second man of the IOM in fresh the elections – likely to be held in November.

“Let the foreign secretary return home. It is a decision that will also involve the prime minister,” a senior Foreign Ministry official told this correspondent.

In the fifth round of the election on Friday, the foreign secretary secured 75 votes while his Sudanese rival received 73 out of the total of 148 votes cast. Two member states abstained.

There are 173 members of the IOM that deals with the migration issues in the world.

All five rounds of the election were held on Friday.

In accordance with the IOM rules, Shahidul was declared the lone contender of the election after he received a simple majority.

The legal body of IOM decided to hold a yes or no vote, which means if Shahidul can secure two-thirds majority of the votes – which is 97 or 98 in number – he will become the deputy director general. However, this was opposed by his rival from Sudan, prompting the legal body to suspend the poll till Tuesday. Usually, after the fifth round, candidates getting fewer votes withdraw from the contest.

The election was not held on Tuesday due to undisclosed reasons.

In this election, four candidates – from Afghanistan, Jordan, the Philippines and Sudan -- were in contest for the post of deputy director general.

In the first round, the Bangladesh foreign secretary came second behind the Sudanese candidate; the scenario remained the same till the fourth round.

Then, Jordan and the Philippines withdrew from the race early and Afghanistan left after the fourth round, leaving the fight between Bangladesh and Sudan.

Shahidul worked at the IOM for 11 years on lien and held different senior posts. He left the UN migration agency in 2012 to rejoin the Foreign Ministry, and was appointed the foreign secretary in 2013.

He was scheduled to retire on December 31, 2018, but the government extended his tenure for another year.

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