After five rounds of voting for Secretary
General ended in a tie, the 34 members of the Organization
of American States (OAS) decided to meet again on May 2
to continue the process of electing a new Secretary General
for the hemispheric organization.
The two candidates—Chile's Interior
Minister, José Miguel Insulza, and Mexico's Secretary
of Foreign Affairs, Luis Ernesto Derbez emerged with 17
votes each during five rounds of voting that took place
at OAS headquarters in Washington, where the foreign ministers
and other heads of delegation met to vote.
The thirtieth special session of the OAS
General Assembly, chaired by Panama’s First Vice President
and Minister of Foreign Affairs Samuel Lewis Navarro, announced
the new election date of May 2 after the heads of delegation
met and so decided following the repeated vote tie. Under
Article 74 of the General Assembly rules of procedure, if
no candidate is elected after two additional rounds of voting—that
were held this afternoon—the election would resume
as determined by the delegations.
Lewis Navarro concluded the session after
thanking the delegations for placing confidence in him and
in his country to preside over the meeting. He also thanked
everyone for actively participating.
OAS Acting Secretary General Luigi
Einaudi, meanwhile, thanked the foreign ministers and the
heads of delegation for their participation and underscored
the candidates’ qualifications and participation of
the countries in a process he described as “reflecting
clearly the organization’s potential and its role
in the quest for hemispheric consensus.” He said today’s
process attested to the vibrant democracy that is at work
in the hemisphere, and expressed his pride in the free and
open process that took place.
Following the April 11 voting that produced
a deadlock, the U.S. State Department's Roger Noriega said
the United States is supporting Mexico's candidate.
"I see no reason [why] the United States
would not continue its support for Minister Derbez,"
said Noriega, who is the Department's assistant secretary
of state for Western Hemisphere Affairs.
The United States was previously supporting
a third candidate -- El Salvador's former President Francisco
Flores -- until Flores dropped out of the race April 8.
After Flores withdrew, State Department
spokesman Richard Boucher released a statement April 9 saying
the United States "has the highest respect" for
the two remaining candidates, and would "undertake
consultations with our partners at the OAS aimed at electing
the best possible candidate for Secretary General."
Boucher added that the United States "is
prepared to work fully and constructively with whomever
The secretary-general's position has been
vacant since October 2004, when Miguel Angel Rodriguez,
the former Costa Rican president, resigned shortly after
taking office to face corruption charges in his country.