Council of Europe divided over human rights chief

4th October 2005, Comments 0 comments

4 October 2005, BRUSSELS — The Council of Europe failed to reach a decision in the first round of voting over the new human rights commissioner.

4 October 2005

BRUSSELS — The Council of Europe failed to reach a decision in the first round of voting over the new human rights commissioner.

None of the three candidates won a majority of the votes, newspaper 'De Standaard' reported on Tuesday.

Belgian Economy Minister Marc Verwilghen finished third in the voting, a Belgian Liberal VLD member of the council, Stef Goris, said.

The 237 members of the council voted on the post of human rights commissioner last Wednesday. Five of the votes were blank or invalid, meaning the successful candidate had to gain 117 votes.

However, none of the three candidates succeeded. Verwilghen received 68 votes, with the most amount of voters (89) backing the Polish candidate Marek Nowicki. The Swede Thomas Hammarberg won 78 votes.

The second round of the election will now take place on Wednesday.

The new commissioner will replace Alvaro Gil Robles. He was the first holder of the post and was elected by the parliamentary assembly in September 1999.

The commissioner is responsible for promoting education, awareness and respect for human rights in member states and ensuring full and effective compliance with Council of Europe texts.

The Commissioner plays a supporting and essentially preventive role, without legal powers.

[Copyright Expatica News 2005]

Subject: Belgian news

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