As the election of a new World Trade Organization director-general to replace current incumbent Roberto Azevêdo comes down to the wire, majority support has gone to Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala of Nigeria.
General Council chair David Walker of New Zealand and his two co-facilitators in the selection process told the organisation’s members two days ago that based on their consultations with all delegations there was consensus that Dr Okonjo-Iweala was best suited to become the seventh director-general.
Walker stressed at a heads of delegation meeting that this was the assessment of the “troika” of facilitators and that a formal decision had to be taken by the members at a General Council meeting, which he had scheduled for 9 November.
The United States has however challenged the assessment and said it could not back the candidacy of Dr Okonjo-Iweala and would continue to support Minister Yoo Myung-hee of the Republic of Korea, who advanced to stage three of the process.
Walker explained that from the start, the ultimate objective of this measured and clearly defined selection process had been to secure a consensus decision by members.
Azevêdo stepped down from his post one year before the expiry of his mandate and left office on 31 August.