Voting begins for next IAEA chief

26 March 2009

Voting began today on who should be the next director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) but with no conclusion so far.


Amano March 2009
Minty March 2009

Yukiya Amano and Abdul Samad Minty

during the IAEA board session today
(Image: IAEA Imagebank)

Two candidates have been put forward by their governments, Yukiya Amano of Japan and Abdul Samad Minty of South Africa, but neither secured the required two-thirds majority support during a closed session of the 35-member IAEA board of governors.


Three rounds of voting took place with no abstentions. Amano led all three rounds, the first by 21 votes to 14, and the second and third rounds by 20 votes to 15.


At the close of the session, IAEA board chair Taous Feroukhi said that the board will reconvene tomorrow to "determine the leading candidate and also to take the necessary measures for the next steps in the voting process."


The IAEA told World Nuclear News that board members might vote on each candidate in turn as a way to identify a leader. Another factor in subsequent votes could be abstentions - the two-thirds majority is required among the IAEA board members who actually vote, therefore excluding those that decide to abstain. If voting is still unsuccessful it is likely that new candidates would emerge.


The IAEA board wants to make an appointment by June to be submitted to the IAEA General Conference in September. The current IAEA chief, Mohamed ElBaradei, is to step down on 30 November after three four-year terms in the job.