The Arab League has elected Egyptian Foreign Minister Nabil al-Araby as the body's new secretary general, replacing Amr Moussa in the post, according to reports on Egyptian state television.
The body’s Council of Foreign Ministers elected al-Araby into the post by a unanimous vote, after the withdrawal of the two other contenders for the role, Mostafa al-Fiqqi and Abdul Rahman al-Attiyah.
The way was opened for Araby when the Egyptian government’s first choice, Fiqqi, who was a former member of the dissolved National Democratic Party, managed to gain the support of only 12 member nations, against the nine secured by Attiyah, who had been put forward by Qatar.
According to the Arab League Charter, a candidate needs the support of at least 15 nations in order to assume the post.
The vote is seen as a victory for Egypt’s revolutionary forces, who supported Araby in assuming the role of foreign minister in Essam Sharaf’s cabinet in March. Araby enjoys a good reputation in Egypt, as well as on the Arab and international stages.
The vote also comes as a blow to supporters of Fiqqi, who was generally seen as representing forces loyal to the ousted Mubarak regime. He served as information secretary for the deposed Egyptian president from 1985 until 1992, and as chairman of the dissolved Shura Council’s Arab Affairs Committee.
He was accused of rigging the 2005 parliamentary elections in his favor against the Muslim Brotherhood’s candidate.
Although not mentioned in the charter, Egyptians have traditionally occupied this post since the founding of the league in 1945, except for a period when it was moved to Tunisia after Egypt signed a peace agreement with Israel in 1979.