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Authorities in Germany and France reported Friday that they, along with other European Union nations, have nominated Ethiopian Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, for a second term at the helm of the World Health Organization.
Tedros has been at the helm of WHO since 2017, and his tenure has been marked by the 19 months since the COVID-19 pandemic hit the world.
He had previously served as Ethiopia's minister of health and chancellor.
It is the first time a candidate to head the UN health agency has not been nominated by his home country. The director general for the next five years will be elected at WHO's annual assembly in May.
The diplomatic missions of France and Germany to the UN institutions in Geneva announced their support for Tedros on their Twitter accounts as the deadline for nominations for the post passed. The WHO said on its website that it does not expect to announce the full list of candidates before November, but diplomatic sources have hinted that Tedros may not face opposition.
@WHO Director General @DrTedros appears set to run for re-election as Germany’s nominee, backed by other European Union states as nominations for the post closed today at 6 p.m., it was appearing that the incumbent DG may run unopposed‼️https://t.co/zkmPm6xaWN
A diplomatic official in Geneva, who spoke on condition of anonymity because she was not authorized to do so publicly, said 15 other European countries had endorsed Tedros' nomination.
The WHO came under withering criticism from the administration of then-U.S. President Donald Trump, which accused Tedros of making serious mistakes in the response to COVID-19.
The Trump Administration, whose handling of the pandemic was characterized by negligence, ignorance of what the science said and a reaction that has been labeled irresponsible, was marked by a grave attack on multilateralism.