So far tourism ministers in these 35 countries had been quiet. One minister told eTurboNews off the record: “Why would I stick my neck out first?” This type of thinking may be the key to success for an unscrupulous UNWTO Secretary-General to influence the outcome of an election he wants to win.
Here is a list of the 35 countries. All countries are now informed about this scheme, and responses or actions are pending.
- Cabo Verde
- Côte d’Ivoire
- Iran (Islamic Republic of)
- Republic of Korea
- Russian Federation
- Saudi Arabia
Invented by a master mind of political confusion
The City of Madrid dedicated a page on its website warning potential visitors not to travel to this city and lists all the restrictions, curfews, and mandatory closings in place.
Due to COVID-19 Spanish travel restrictions, U.S. citizens cannot enter Spain unless they meet very specific requirements or have already obtained special permission from the Government of Spain. Additionally, U.S. citizens travelling from the United States or certain other countries will need to show a negative PCR test result taken within 72 hours prior to arrival and complete a Health Control Form (See Entry and Exit Requirements below).
The Secretariat of the World Tourism Organization UNWTO in Madrid on December 8 mailed instructions to the tourism ministers in 35 member countries that are representing the executive committee. This committee is scheduled to meet in Madrid on January 18 and 19 to elect a new Secretary General. Zurab is one of the two candidates and made it almost impossible to get a competitor. The only competitor able to come in the last minute is HE Ms. Shaikha Mai Bint Mohammed Al-Khalifa from the Kingdom of Bahrain. Even Bahrain was misspelled in the official confirmation issued by UNWTO.
6 other countries nominated candidates. Due to the lack of time and the surprise of the short deadline clerical mistakes voided 6 intended nominations.
Zurab Pololikashvili is the mastermind behind this manipulation which some of the 35 victim countries may not be aware of.
For 2 years, the Secretary General catered to the needs of these 35 members making it unlikely for many of them to vote against him. There are economic obligations, important conferences, promises for important positions, issues negotiated by foreign ministers, as well as cross votes, and much more with this elite 35.
UNWTO Secretary General Zurab Pololikashvili tricked these 35 members in September this year to agree to moving the UNWTO election from May to January 2021. The Secretary General argued in Georgia that he wanted to eliminate unnecessary travel for executive council member ministers. The reasoning was because of FITUR scheduling – a trade show many ministers routinely attend in Madrid. This trade show was planned in Madrid for January 18-19. Zurab already knew about FITUR’s plan to postpone.
Just a week later, FITUR was postponed to May when Madrid went into lockdown. It made Madrid unsafe for travel. Instead of immediately also moving the election meeting back to when it was, Zurab is now forcing ministers to get on a plane and come to Madrid only for the January 18-19 vote. He very well knows this won’t happen, and he will win this election.
According to Zoltan Somogyi, a former Executive Director at World Tourism Organization, this scheme may be legal, but is highly unethical.
What about letting Executive Council Ministers vote electronically?
In a letter dated December 8, the UNWTO Secretariat was instructed to tell countries that electronic votes will not count.
Here is the relevant portion of the letter:
In accordance with Rule 29 of its Rules of Procedure and the long-standing rules and procedures applying for the nomination for the post of Secretary-General, reproduced herein under Section III below, the Council shall make its recommendation at a private meeting by secret ballot.
- The Rules of Procedure of the Executive Council and the Guiding Principles for the Conduct of Elections by Secret Ballot (annexed to the Rules of Procedure of the General Assembly), together with
the above-mentioned long-standing rules, have been drafted in a manner that presupposes that Member States be physically present at the private meeting. However, in the current global context in which in-person formal meetings of the Council pose a significant challenge and large gatherings are discouraged worldwide, it has become imperative to explore temporary and extraordinary means to ensure that it takes crucial decisions for the proper functioning of the Organization.
- To this effect, the Members of the Council adopted through silence procedure the decision “Special Procedures governing the Executive Council during the COVID-19 pandemic”2 setting out special
rules governing the conduct of virtual and in-person sessions of the Council during the COVID-19 pandemic and authorizing the Chair of the Council, with the endorsement of the Secretary-General, to hold sessions of the Council virtually insofar as the holding of an in-person meeting is not practical due to the pandemic, and to inform all the members of such decision ten days before the opening of the session.
- The technological means currently available to the Secretariat do not allow, however, for holding a secret ballot online but rather only in person. In fact, no governing body of any other organization of the United Nations system has held a secret ballot online.
- Consequently, even in case of a hybrid (online and in-person) session of the Council, on the item on the recommendation of a nominee to the post of Secretary-General, Members that are entitled to vote shall be physically present during the discussion of candidates (“restrictive private meeting”) and during the secret ballot (“normal private meeting”). To this effect, the delegations of voting Members of the Council shall consist of at least one member who shall be physically present throughout the private meeting and duly empowered to cast the ballot
- In sum, the representative of the voting Member of the Council physically present at the private meeting (“the voter”), be it a member of its own delegation or a member of a different delegation (proxy), must be duly accredited and empowered to cast the ballot on its behalf.
- The Secretariat further recalls that a number of Member States have appointed their Ambassadors to the Kingdom of Spain as Permanent Representatives to the Organization with sufficient authority so as to represent them in meetings of the governing bodies and to cast ballots on their behalf, in accordance with the practice of other organizations of the United Nations system.
- In relation to the designation of tellers as per the Guiding Principles for the Conduct of Elections by Secret Ballot, the Chair of the Council shall appoint two (2) tellers from among the Members of the Council whose delegations consist of more than one alternate physically present in the Meeting.
- Finally, in order to guarantee the necessary privacy of the meeting pursuant to the rules, online participation will not be made available during the restrictive private meeting, and likewise, it may be
also restricted when the secret ballot takes place.
Last week, all countries were contacted in an open letter by former UNWTO Secretary General Dr. Taleb Rifai, and by Francesco Frangialli, to demand a change of the election day. So far no country has openly responded.
World Tourism Network and hundreds of its members called for decency in the UNWTO Election Process. No response was received by UNWTO.
A letter was sent to the United Nations Secretary General in New York yesterday, and a response is pending.
This is where the letter was sent to:
Executive Council Members
S.E. M. Mohamed Hamidou
Ministre du Tourisme, de l’artisanat et du travail familial
H.E. Mr. Fuad Naghiyev
Chairman of the State Tourism Agency
H.E. Mr. Zayed Rashed Alzayani
Minister of Industry and Commerce and Tourism
H.E. Mr. Marcelo Álvaro Antônio
Minister of Tourism
H.E. Mr. Carlos Jorge Duarte Santos
Minister of Tourism and Transport
Excmo. Sr. José Luis Uriarte
Subsecretario de Turismo
Ministerio de Economía, Fomento y Turismo
Subsecretaría de Turismo
H.E. Mr. Heping Hu
Minister of Culture and Tourism
Ministry of Culture and Tourism of the People’s Republic of China
S.E. Mme. Arlette Soudan-Nonault
Ministre du Tourisme et de l’Environnement, en charge du Développement durable
S.E. M. Siandou Fofana
Ministre du tourisme et Loisirs
H.E. Dr. Khaled Ahmed El-Enany
Minister of Tourism and Antiquities
S.E. M. Jean-Yves Le Drian
Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs, France Minister
Direction des entreprises, de l’économie internationale et de la promotion du tourisme (DEEIT)
H.E. Mr. Harry Theoharis
Minister of Tourism
Sr. Mynor Arturo Cordón Lemus
Instituto Guatemalteco de Turismo (INGUAT)
Excma. Sra. Nicole Marderr
Ministra de Turismo
H.E. Mr. Prahlad Singh Patel
Minister of State for Culture and Tourism (Independent Charge)
Ministry of Tourism, Government of India
Minister of Cultural Heritage, Tourism and Handicrafts of the Islamic Republic of Iran (MCTH)
H.E. Mr. Dario Franceschini
Minister of Culture, Cultural Heritage and Tourism
H.E. Mr. Kazuyoshi Akaba
Minister of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism
Hon. Mr. Najib Balala
Cabinet Secretary for Tourism and Wildlife
Ministry of Tourism and Wildlife
H.E. Mr. Rimantas Sinkevičius
Minister Ministry of Economy and Innovation
Hon. Pohamba Penomwenyo Shifeta
Minister of Environment, Forestry and Tourism
H.E. Ms. Claudia Eugenia Cornejo Mohme
Minister of Foreign Trade and Tourism
H.E. Mr. Pedro Siza Vieira
Minister of Economy, Portugal
Republic of Korea
H.E. Mr. Yangwoo Park
Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism
H.E. Mr. Virgil-Daniel Popescu
Ministry of Economy, Energy and Business Environment
Mrs. Zarina Doguzova
Head of the Federal Agency for Tourism
Federal Agency for Tourism of the Russian Federation
H.E. Mr. Ahmed bin Aqil Al Khateeb
Minister of Tourism
H.E. Mr. Alioune Sarr Minister of Tourism and Air Transport
H.E. Louis Sylvestre Radegonde
Excma. Sra. Da. María Reyes Maroto Illera
Ministra de Industria, Comercio y Turismo
Dr. Girham Abdelgadir Demin
Undersecretary of the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Antiquities
Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Antiquities
H.E. Mr. Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn
Minister of Tourism and Sports
S.E. M. Habib Ammar
Ministre du tourisme et de l’artisanat
H.E. Mr. Mehmet Nuri Ersoy
Minister of Culture and Tourism
Hon. Nqobizitha Mangaliso Ndlovu
Minister of Environment,Tourism and Hospitality Industry