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Almagro re-elected OAS secretary general

Published:Monday | March 23, 2020 | 12:27 AM

The 54th Special General Assembly of the Organization of American States (OAS) on Friday re-elected Luis Almagro as secretary general and Nestor Mendez as his assistant.

Almagro, from Uruguay, was re-elected with 23 of the 33 votes cast by member states.

María Fernanda Espinosa, from Ecuador, received 10 votes, and one country was absent.

Following his re-election, Almagro expressed his thanks to those who supported his candidacy and vowed, “I will continue to dedicate all efforts to ensure more rights for more people in all the 34 member states.”

Both Almagro and Mendez will fulfil their second mandate for five years starting May 26, 2020. Neither of them will be eligible for re-election once they complete their second term. The Assembly was held at OAS headquarters in Washington, DC.

Antigua and Barbuda and St Vincent and the Grenadines had nominated Ecuadorian diplomat Maria Fernanda Espinosa for the post.

Controversy had surrounded the election amid the COVID-19 outbreak, and several countries had called for a postponement.

The ambassadors from Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Guyana, Grenada, Jamaica, St Kitts-Nevis, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, part of the Caribbean Community, sent a letter to the chair of the Permanent Council, regional coordinators, secretary general, and all OAS member states, requesting that the organisation suspend the March 20 General Assembly, evoking a “clear case of force majeure”.