Egypt, Mexico and Moldova candidates dropped from the WTO leadership race

In grey: Jesus Seade, Tudor Ulianovischi and Hamid Mamdouh have not been selected for the next round. The remaining candidates (clockwise from top left) are Amina Mohamed, Yoo Myung-hee, Liam Fox, Mohammad Maziad Al-Tuwaijri and Dr. Ngozi Okonjo Iweala. and Keystone

Three candidates hoping to become the next director-general of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) have fallen out of the race after failing to win enough support from member states.

Jesus Seade, Mexico’s candidate and a founding deputy director of the WTO, Moldovan politician Tudor Ulianovischi and Egypt’s Hamid Mamdouh, a lawyer residing in Switzerland, have not made it through to the next round.

The five candidates that will go onto the next round are Dr. Ngozi Okonjo Iweala (Nigeria), Amina Mohamed (Kenya),  Yoo Myung-hee (Republic of Korea), Dr Liam Fox (UK) and Mohammad Maziad Al-Tuwaijri (Kingdom of Saudi Arabia).

"Throughout the six days of consultations it was clear to us that the entire membership is both committed to and fully engaged in this process," General Council chair David Walker said during the announcement this morning.

“Members consider all (the candidates) highly qualified and respected individuals. I would also like to pay tribute to the dignified manner in which they, their delegations, and their Governments have conducted themselves in this process,” he added.

The WTO is unique in its selection process in that it operates on the basis of consensus. While votes are theoretically possible, there has never been one on a matter of importance. As a result, there is no election, but a process for arriving at a consensus behind a single candidate.

During the next round of negotiations, which begins on 24 September, with member states asked to give their preferences for just two. Consultations will run until 6 October, when the contenders for the top position will be whittled down to two,