WIPO Director General Election: Field Dramatically Drops To Three CandidatesPublished on 13 May 2008 @ 4:47 pm
Intellectual Property Watch
By William New
The field of candidates vying to be the next director general of the World Intellectual Property Organization dramatically plummeted from the original 15 candidates to three frontrunners on the first day.
The race is now between Francis Gurry of Australia, José Graça Aranha of Brazil, and Masood Khan of Pakistan. The drastic change in the race, which took place all at once in the midst of the second official round of voting, caught some by surprise as several candidates still had fairly strong support.
Voting results are being posted to www.ip-watch.org.
Just before the second round of voting began after lunch, it was announced that Toufiq Ali of Bangladesh had bowed out. Ali ran an active campaign in recent weeks, but managed only two votes in the first round, despite a fair showing in the informal straw poll. He joined Mauro Masi of Italy, who withdrew last Friday, and Bojan Pretnar of Slovenia and Gjorgji Filipov of Macedonia, both of whom received the least votes in the first round.
Then the result of the second round reduced the number of candidates to 10 from the original 15, and consultations were held on how to address three candidates tied with the least votes, one of which would be expected to depart.
In each early round of voting, the two candidates with the least number were to be automatically eliminated from contention until there are nine candidates, then it switches to one elimination per round. After the second round votes were tallied, it was shown that James Otieno Odek of Kenya had received one vote, and so would be expected to be out. But there was a tie among three candidates for the second least number, with two votes: Enrique Manalo of Philippines, Philippe Petit of France, and José Delmer Urbizo of Honduras.
According to the official voting rules, a tie can be addressed through another vote among the lowest vote-getters. The meeting broke into consultations to decide how to proceed.
When the meeting resumed after a short break, a cascade of withdrawal announcements followed. The Group of Latin American and Caribbean nations announced the withdrawal of Urbizo of Honduras and Jorge Amigo Castañeda of Mexico, in order to consolidate support in the region behind Graça Aranha.
Then it was announced that Manalo of the Philippines, Petit of France, Yoshiyuki Takagi of Japan, Alicja Adamczak of Poland, and Boris Simonov of Russia, all would withdraw as well. This leaves only Khan, Graça Aranha and Gurry.
Now member states are privately calculating the number of votes any of the three remaining candidates each could garner, speculating on the chances of each. Rather broadly, Gurry might represent the candidate of the North, and the other two might split the developing country vote. But some sources cautioned against drawing a clear line among the candidates, as all can carry some support across economic lines.
The results of the second round (before a runoff among the second lowest could be held) were:
|Francis Gurry (Australia)||26|
|José Graça Aranha (Brazil)||18|
|Masood Khan (Pakistan)||13|
|Yoshiyuki Takagi (Japan)||8|
|Alicja Adamczak (Poland)||4|
|Boris Simonov (Russia)||4|
|Jorge Amigo Castañeda (Mexico)||3|
|Enrique Manalo (Philippines)||2|
|Philippe Petit (France)||2|
|José Delmer Urbizo (Honduras)||2|
|James Otieno Odek (Kenya)||1|
Toufiq Ali (Bangladesh), withdrew before round