Lamy pulls ahead in WTO leadership race

Original Publication Date: 
20 Aprile, 2005

(IPS) - As the competition to become the next head of the World Trade Organisation heats up, all indications are that Pascal Lamy, former European Union Commissioner, will prevail.

The Geneva-based World Trade Organisation (WTO), which sets the rules for global commerce amongst its 148 member states, aims to have a successor to current director-general Supachai Panitchpakdi, from Thailand, by the end of May.

The official campaign to select the new head of the trade body was opened December 1, 2004. Supachai's term ends August 31, 2005.

Three candidates are now vying for the top post after Luiz Felipe de Seixas Correa, the Brazilian candidate, was eliminated from the competition Friday, finishing last in the first round of consultations of the membership.

Under new WTO rules, which aim to streamline the competition for the new leader, the candidate with least support is knocked out in each round of consultations.

The chairman of the selection panel, Kenyan ambassador Amina Mohamed, said Lamy, a French citizen, had more support than Mauritian trade minister Jaya Krishna Cuttaree and Carlos P