Geneva: The race to find a replacement for Frenchman Pascal Lamy in the World Trade Organisation's top post heated up on Friday with the disclosure that Indonesia, Jordan, Kenya and New Zealand had all added candidates to the list.

Indonesia has nominated its ex-trade minister Mari Pangestu, 56, hoping she would bridge the gap between developing and developed countries, presidential spokesman Teuku Faizasyah told reporters.

He also stressed that as a woman, Pangestu, currently serving as tourism and creative economy minister, would be a good choice. "Gender wise, surely it will be very good if the forum is led by a woman," he said.

Two other women also figure on the current list of six candidates: Amina Mohamed, a high-level United Nations executive who was presented by Kenya on Friday, and Costa Rican Foreign Trade Minister Anabel Gonzalez, presented earlier this week. Jordan meanwhile nominated former trade minister Ahmad Hindawi today, while New Zealand presented Trade Minister Tim Groser as its candidate to replace Lamy when he steps down at the end of August.

The race kicked off on December 17, when Ghana nominated the first candidate: its 57-year-old former trade minister Alan John Kwadwo Kyerematen. WTO 158 member countries have until December 31 to nominate candidates for the prestigious position, and the UN's trade body will make its decision known by May 31.

When Lamy was first chosen in 2005, three other candidates from Brazil, Mauritius and Uruguay also threw their hats in the ring, but the Frenchman was unopposed to succeed himself in 2009.


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