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March 6, 2014

Francis Gurry Wins Reelection at WIPO

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A few hours ago Francis Gurry won re-election (technically, re-nomination) as Director General of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) in Geneva. This is a good thing.

My sources tell me Gurry received 46 votes on the first ballot, 4 votes over an outright majority. At this, the Estonian (7 votes) and Panamanian (10 votes) nominees withdrew.

What would normally then have happened is a second ballot, but after seeing Gurry’s large initial vote, some of the African Group went to the nominee from Nigeria, who had received 20 votes, and told him they were going to switch to Gurry, undoubtedly because they wanted to go with the winner. At this, the Nigerian nominee withdrew, so Gurry was nominated by consensus.

As I said, this is a good thing. For instance, the Panamanian nominee Alfredo Suescum is a radical who worked as a lawyer for the infamous organization ACORN and the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) in the 1990s. Those Republicans in the U.S. Congress who opposed Mr. Gurry’s re-election should have compared Mr. Gurry to the other available options and asked themselves whether they would have preferred a former ACORN lawyer at the helm of WIPO.

This is why we’ve previously opined that Mr. Gurry was far and away the best choice to continue to lead WIPO, and we’re delighted with the outcome.

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