Runoff vote to be held between Egyptian, French candidates for UNESCO election

A view shows the headquarters of the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization in Paris

On Tuesday, Khattab took third place in the second round of voting with 12 votes while Qatar's former culture minister Hamad Bin Abdulaziz Al-Kawari remained in the lead with 20 votes and France's candidate Audrey Azoulay finished second with 13.

Qatar's Hamad bin Abdulaziz al-Kawari came ahead of the Egyptian and French candidates, who each got 18 votes in this round.

Egypt's candidate passed on Thursday the third round of the organization's election held in Paris, France, where no candidate gained an absolute majority of votes so far.

It said the reason for the decision was an alleged anti-Israel position on the part of the Paris-based United Nations agency for cultural heritage, of which Palestine is also a full member.

The 58 members of UNESCO's executive board voted in the first round on Monday to select a successor to outgoing Bulgarian Director-General Irina Bokova.

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The victor must be approved by UNESCO's 195 member states in November, though this is seen as a formality. Candidates from Guatemala, Iraq and Azerbaijan have also given up.

A fifth round will be held in case no candidate gets the absolute majority, but it is not required to get 30 votes this time.

Most of the candidates acknowledge the need to reform the 71-year-old organisation whose bloated bureaucracy is accused of inefficiency.

Arab countries have complained that UNESCO has never had a boss from their region. If votes are equal for both, the director general will be chosen through a lot.

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