State Minister for Foreign Affairs Shahriar Alam briefs diplomats on the election
Foreign Secretary Shahidul Haque will have to secure two-thirds of the votes on Tuesday in Geneva to become the deputy director general of the International Organization for Migration (IOM) – if the voting takes place.
The voting is not yet confirmed, as there is a possibility of a ruling by the chief of IOM’s election body, concerned Foreign Ministry officials told Dhaka Tribune on Monday.
If the country’s top diplomat, who is the lone candidate in the contest at this final stage, fails to secure the required votes, the process to elect the second man of the IOM, the United Nations’ migration agency, will begin all over again, they further said.
In the fifth round of the election on Friday, the foreign secretary secured 75 votes while his Sudanese rival got the support of 73 countries out of the 148 votes cast. Two member states abstained. There are 173 members of the IOM that deal with migration issues in the world.
All the five rounds were held on Friday, June 21.
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 – at least 97 or 98 votes – he will become the deputy director general of the organization. But this was opposed by his rival from Sudan, prompting the legal body to suspend the poll till today.
Usually, after the fifth round, candidates getting fewer votes withdraw from contests.
State Minister for Foreign Affairs Shahriar Alam briefed the diplomats on the election at a city hotel over breakfast yesterday.
He told the diplomats that Bangladesh wanted the election to be held in accordance with the IOM rules, and norms.
“When the meeting of the IOM election body convenes tomorrow [today], the chief may give a ruling regarding the election, or go ahead with the poll with Foreign Secretary Shahidul Haque as the lone candidate, or may announce a new date,” a senior official said.
“If he [Shahidul] cannot secure the required votes, the IOM will have to start the whole poll process from scratch,” he said.
“At this stage, we really don’t know what will happen to our candidate,” said another official.
“However, the process of a new election cannot begin until the foreign secretary is given the opportunity to secure two-thirds majority.”
In this election, four other candidates – Afghanistan, Jordan, the Philippines, and Sudan – were contesting for the post of DDG.
In the first round, the Bangladesh foreign secretary came second behind the Sudanese candidate, and 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 contest between Bangladesh and Sudan.
Shahidul had 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. He became the foreign secretary in 2013.
Shahidul was scheduled to retire on December 31 last year, but the government extended his tenure for another year.