Two leading candidates in the race for European Jewish Congress president offered their support for the newly elected president of the World Jewish Congress, Ronald Lauder. In a statement issued Monday, Vyacheslav “Moshe” Kantor, president of the Russian Jewish Congress, called Lauder “a committed and hardworking leader devoted to his people.” He added that Lauder “has a clear program of actions to strengthen the Jewish nation, consolidate Jewish communities all over the world and increase Jewish influence in the world community.” Also Monday, the current president of the EJC, Pierre Besnainou, sent a memo congratulating Lauder on his election after Besnainou publicly supported Lauder’s opponent for the WJC presidency, Mendel Kaplan. “My choice to support Mendel Kaplan must not be misinterpreted,” he said in the memo. “Supporting Mendel Kaplan did not mean opposing Ron Lauder, but, simply, [I had to] make a choice between two talented candidates.” The EJC, which holds a seat on the WJC’s steering committee and executive committee, will elect a new president on June 26. The election thus far has been hotly contested.