GENEVA: Former White House advisor Amy Pope won a vote in Geneva on Monday to head the US migration agency, prevailing in a tense contest against a Portuguese incumbent who had the support of European countries.
European countries and the United States were running rival candidates to head the US migration agency in an unusually tense contest between allies.
More than 100 million people are forcibly displaced around the world and the International Organization for migration (IOM) seeks to ensure humane and orderly migration and intervenes where needed.
Its 175 member states took part in a first round of voting on Monday by secret ballot in closed-door meetings.
The International Organization for Migration said Pope would become the first woman to lead the organisation when she begins her five-year term on Oct. 1.
Pope, who served as Deputy Director General for Management and Reform at IOM, took leave to campaign against her boss António Vitorino, who has been in the position since 2018.
In 2021, Pope served as Senior Advisor on Migration to US President Joe Biden, who publicly backed her candidacy.
"As IOM's largest bilateral donor, the United States strongly supports Pope's vision and looks forward to working with her to implement the critical reforms necessary to create a more effective, inclusive IOM," US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement.
More than 100 million people are forcibly displaced around the world and IOM seeks to ensure humane and orderly migration and intervenes where needed.
Vitorino, a former European Commissioner who is close to his compatriot United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres, had touted an increase in the body's annual budget among his successes.
Asked about the contest earlier this year, Vitorino described it as unprecedented.
"We have never happened to have an incumbent director general that faces a competition with one of his deputy generals. Let's call it an innovation," Vitorino told journalists in March.
He said at the time he had Portugal's backing as well as the "strong encouragement" of the European Union. — Reuters