From Emma Farge and Philip Blinksop
GENEVA / BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Eight candidates from various countries will compete to head the World Trade Organization, seeking to persuade its hundred and sixty-four members of their ability to lead the organization in the context of growing global trade tension and increased trade protection measures.
The last 24 hours have seen three names enter the field of competition for the job that Brazilian Roberto Azevedo will leave at the end of August, a year earlier.
Pressure is growing to select a head of the organization from Africa after three out of six former presidents came from Europe and three from Thailand, Brazil and New Zealand.
But the continent did not unite on one candidate, which resulted in three candidates from Egypt, Kenya and Nigeria. The rest are from Britain, Mexico, Moldova, Saudi Arabia and South Korea.
No woman has ever held the presidency. There is one woman among the contestants.
The eight are expected to present themselves to the General Council of Ambassadors next week, before an unspecified publicity period. A tripartite committee of ambassadors will conduct a survey of opinions in the hope of agreeing on one name.
The process usually takes nine months, but this time the organization wants to complete it in three.