PARIS — Controversial UNESCO Director General Amadou Mahtar M'Bow is running for a third term as head of the U.N. agency, according to an official list of candidates distributed on Thursday.
The United States, Britain and Singapore have quit the Paris-based U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, alleging waste and anti-Western bias under the Senegalese official's management.
The list of candidates was circulated among the 50 members of the UNESCO Executive Board, who are due to vote on a new director general next month. It contained the names of 11 candidates for the $159,000-a-year post.
UNESCO insiders had expected M'Bow, 66, to run for a third six-year term despite his announcement in last October that he was not seeking a new mandate.
M'Bow lobbied for support at Third World forums and in July received formal endorsement from the Organization of African Unity.
Zambia, current OAU chairman, reportedly wrote to Executive Board members this week urging that their votes to be cast for M'Bow, the first African and Muslim to head a major U.N. agency.
UNESCO experts say M'Bow is the early front-runner and could gather as many as 20 votes in the first ballot Oct. 6 and 7.
But he is likely to face a strong challenge from the West's favorite, Pakistani Foreign Minister Sahabzada Yaqub Khan, a retired army general.
Western diplomats say Yaqub Khan is the best man to secure the return of the United States, Britain and Singapore and put the agency back on a non-controversial course. But some European and Third World states are critical of his military background.