cdiplomats said.


The deadline for nominations for the position of director general at the International Atomic Energy Agency expired on Monday.

Egyptian diplomat ElBaradei is stepping down in November after 12 years at the head of the agency.

“As of 4:00 pm (1400 GMT) yesterday, there were five candidates,” a diplomat said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

The candidates to succeed him are: South Africa\’s long-time ambassador to the IAEA, Abdul Samad Minty, 69; Japanese ambassador Yukiya Amano, 61; Ernest Petric, 72, of Slovenia, a former IAEA ambassador; Luis Echavarri, 60, of Spain, current head of the OECD\’s Nuclear Energy Agency; and former Belgian deputy prime minister, defence and energy minister, Jean-Pol Poncelet, 58, the diplomat said.

Poncelet emerged at the last minute as a candidate.

The IAEA is unlikely to name the candidates officially for a couple of days yet, to give Taous Feroukhi, who chairs its 35-member board, time to inform the IAEA\’s member states, the diplomat said.

Furthermore, “their CVs have to be translated into all official languages. It\’s just bureaucratic stuff,” the diplomat said.

The race to succeed ElBaradei was re-opened last month after neither of the two original candidates – Minty and Amano – secured the necessary two-thirds majority on the IAEA\’s board.

At the time, Feroukhi said neither had been able to bridge the gap between industrialised and developing nations.

Amano had been perceived to be the preferred candidate of the West and Minty the favourite of developing nations.

ElBaradei\’s successor will take over the highly sensitive nuclear dossiers of Syria and Iran and will also have to persuade member countries to contribute more money to its budget.

Following the deadline for nominations on Monday, there will be a period of campaigning by candidates, with a final election expected late in May.