Election of members of the Commission at AU summit
Addis Ababa, 19 January 2012 – African Heads of State and Governments will as from 29-30 January 2012 meet within the framework of the 18th African Union Summit. This year, one of the most anticipated moments of the Conference is the election for a term of four years of members of the AU Commission, namely, the Chairperson, Deputy Chairperson and the eight Commissioners.
Election of Chairperson and Deputy Chairperson
In July 2011, the Commission notified Member States on the vacancies of the above mentioned positions and the deadline for submissions for the candidacies was set for 15 September 2011. As of that date, the Commission received the following submissions; For the position of the Chairperson of the AUC, Dr. Jean Ping from Gabon who is vying for a second mandate and Ms. Nkosazana Clarice Dlamini-Zuma, Current Interior Minister of South Africa.
With regard to the position of Deputy Chairperson, the Commission received the submission of Mr. Erastus J. O. Mwencha, from Kenya who is currently holding the post, as the only candidate for this position.
Worth noting that during the elections, the Chairperson and Deputy Chairperson must not derive from the same region.
The Chairperson and Deputy Chairperson are elected by secret ballot and a majority of two thirds of the members with the right to vote, that is, Members States that are not under sanction. According to the rules of the AU Assembly, the members must be “competent women and men, with proven experience in the field, leadership qualities and experience in the civil service, parliament, international organizations or any other relevant sectors of the society.” The election will take place in the afternoon on 29 January 2012, on the day of the official opening of the AU Summit. It will be preceded by the debate on the theme of the Summit: “Boosting Intra-African Trade.” The election results will be announced the same day.
Election of the Eight Commissioners
According to the rules governing the elections of the eight Commissioners of the AU, the candidates are submitted by the regions.
As of the expiration of the deadline on 15 September 2011, submissions for twenty-five (25) candidates from the different regions were received for the following portfolios: Peace and Security, Political Affairs, Infrastructure and Energy, Social Affairs, Human Resources, Science and Technology, Trade and Industry, Rural Economy and Agriculture, and finally Economic Affairs. These candidates were selected following criteria such as work experience, education and age (35 years minimum).
Among the Commissioners who were elected in 2008, Ambassador Ramtane Lamamra is a candidate for a second term of office for the post of Commissioner for Peace and Security, Professor Jean-Pierre Ezin is a candidate for the position of Commissioner of Human Resources, Science and Technology, Dr. Elham Mahmoud Ibrahim is candidate for Commissioner of Infrastructure and Energy and Mrs Tumusiime Rhoda Peace candidate for the Commissioner of Rural Economy and Agriculture.
The statute of the Commission limits the mandate of the Commissioners to four years renewable once. Therefore, four of them will no longer run in these elections. They are Mrs. Julia Dolly Joiner, Commissioner for Political Affairs, Advocate Bience Gawanas, Commissioner for Social Affairs and Dr. Maxwell Mkwezalamba, Commissioner for Economic Affairs. The late Mrs. Elizabeth Tankeu, Commissioner for Trade and Industry, died in October 2011, while completing her second and final term.
Immediately after the election of the Chairperson and Deputy Chairperson of the Commission by the Assembly, the Executive Council retires to another room to elect the eight Commissioners of the AU. The results are announced at the end of the close session dedicated for the election during the Executive Council meeting.
The list of the candidates is available on the AU website: www.au.int
The 18th AU Summit will be very interesting and eventful as it will also feature the election of ten members of the Peace and Security Council (PSC) of the AU for a term of two years. The AU PSC consists of 15 members, 5 for a term of three years (from Equatorial Guinea, Kenya, Libya, Zimbabwe and Nigeria) and 10 others for a period two years. This difference in the duration of terms ensures continuity in the work of the PSC. The candidates for the next election for a term of 2 years each are drawn from the following countries: (North) Egypt; (West), Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana and Guinea (East), Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Tanzania and Uganda; (Centre) Congo and Cameroon; (South) Angola and Lesotho.
Meanwhile, according to the Rules of Procedure of the Assembly, the Heads of State and Government at the sidelines of the January Summit elect one of their peers to assume the rotating Chairmanship of the Union. In 2012, the Responsibility of the Chairperson of the Union will go to West Africa in conformity with the principle of geographical rotation.
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