PARIS (Oct. 25)
The Arab bloc and its allies suffered a decisive defeat yesterday in a surprise bid for the presidency of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). Napoleon LeBlanc, of Canada, won a 60-54 victory in the nominations committee over Abdul-Salam Majali, Deputy Prime Minister and Education Minister of Jordan. Majali then withdrew his candidacy.
Until now, the presidency of UNESCO has been rotated, without challenge, among the five regional groups making up the organization. This year, it is the Western group’s turn and LeBlanc, the selected candidate, is expected to be approved without opposition. But the Arab states, grouped with the Africans, had insisted the time had come for one of their members to take the chair regardless of the sequence of rotation. The last Arab nation to hold the presidency of UNESCO was Lebanon in 1948.