Voting at UNESCO: Why Azerbaijan’s Candidate Failed?



 The 58 members of the Executive Board of UNESCO are holding the 202nd session at UNESCO’s Headquarters. The session will continue until October 18. It is presided by Michael Worbs (Germany), Chairperson of the Executive Board, UNESCO’s official page reports.

It should be noted that one of the important events of the session is the election of the Director-General. The winner is expected to be announced no later than Friday, 13 October. 

The voting on a candidate is being carried out by secret ballot in private meetings. A majority is required to win the nomination.

Initially, it was noted that the election can be conducted in several stages. It is allowed to hold up to 5 rounds if necessary. So, the first round took place on Monday, which, however, did not produce any results because none of the candidates collected the absolute majority of the votes. However, the winner is expected to be announced no later than Friday, October 13. 

9 candidates were nominated for the post of UNESCO Director-General, but later Guatemala and Iraq withdrew their applications. As a result, now in the elections Azerbaijan, (Azerbaijani Ambassador to Russia Polad Bülbüloglu), China (Qian Tang), Egypt (Moushira Khattab), Lebanon (Vera El-Khoury Lacoeuilhe), Viet Nam (Pham Sanh Chau), Qatar (Hamad bin Abdulaziz Al-Kawari) and France (Audrey Azoulay) are taking part.

With the results of the first round, Qatar’s candidate is the leading one, however, he also failed to collect the number of votes needed to be elected. France and Egypt are in top three too, TASS reports. 

Only 2 countries voted for Azerbaijan’s candidate Polad Bülbül oglu, who has always had an anti-Armenian stance, and even called for war against Armenians. It should be noted that official Moscow earlier stated that it supports the nomination of the representative of Azerbaijan. However, according to the results of the voting, we can say that the “Azerbaijani laundry”did not work well this time. May be the reason is that it was recently discovered and voiced. As it turned out, the Azerbaijani authorities have bribed many officials and journalists for years in different countries and international organizations. Moreover, according to some sources, money from Azerbaijan was also transferred to the account of UNESCO Director-General, Irina Bokova’s husband, Kalinin Mitrov. Let’s just recall that only a few days before that Irina Bokova organized a photo exhibition “Azerbaijan: Tolerance Area”. Moreover, it is not the only event organized by the UNESCO Director-General to raise Azerbaijan’s reputation. So, the removal of Irina Bokova can be as positive as the collapse of Polad Bülbüloglu.


UNESCO, which was founded after Second World War, now has more than 200 participants, 195 of which are member states, 2 are observers, and 10 are associate members. UNESCO is the main actor in the field of preservation of world cultural heritage, whose programs are aimed at the development of education, science and culture. Working languages of the organization are: English, French, Russian, Chinese, Spanish and Arabic.

The Director-General is nominated by the Executive Board and appointed by the General Conference. The Director-General of UNESCO is the Organization’s Chief Administrative Officer. The Director-General may be appointed initially for a period of four years, and may be appointed for a further term of four years, but shall not be eligible for reappointment for a subsequent term. Countries present their candidates six months before the end of the term of the Director-General.