Only Japan and South Africa have submitted candidates for succeeding Mohamed ElBaradei at the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the Vienna-based organization confirmed on Friday in a statement.
As ElBaradei’s third and last term ends at the end of November this year, Yukiya Amano of Japan and Abdul Samad Minty of South Africa, who represent their countries at the IAEA Board of Governors, are now vying for the prestigious post of director-general.
The deadline for IAEA member states to name candidates ended on Wednesday.
Vienna-based diplomats said late last year that neither candidate currently had the necessary two-thirds majority among the 35 countries on the IAEA’s governing board, which might make it necessary to reopen the race for other candidates.
Amano, 62, is Japan’s ambassador to the international organizations in Vienna and was previously director-general of his foreign ministry’s Disarmament, Non-Proliferation and Science Department.
Minty, 69, is based in South Africa, where he chairs his country’s Council for the Non-Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction.
The diplomat has represented South Africa at the IAEA governing board since 1995.
Speaking on condition of anonymity, the diplomats said that Japan was investing a lot of political and diplomatic capital in Amano’s candidature, in an effort to lead the race by the time of the next regular IAEA board meeting in March.
While Amano is supported by Western countries, Minty is backed by African IAEA members and a number of developing countries.
The board has to choose a new director-general until the IAEA’s annual General Conference in September.