Byrne not on list of candidates for WHO job


Ireland's former European Commissioner David Byrne was not included on a shortlist of candidates for the post of director general of the World Health Organisation.

Speculation emerged last month in Brussels that Mr Byrne may be proposed as a potential candidate for the job.

Mr Byrne worked as a special envoy for the WHO for a six-month period after he completed his term as an EU commissioner for health and consumer protection in October 2004.

The WHO today announced the names of 13 candidates to head the United Nations' health agency in place of South Korea's Lee Jong-wook who died suddenly in May.

Amongst those standing for the post of Director-General is Margaret Chan of Hong Kong, who currently heads the agency's campaign to prepare the world for a possible bird flu epidemic.

Former French Health Minister Bernard Kouchner and former Mozambique Prime Minister Pascoal Manuel Mocumbi were also amongst those whose names were put forward for the post by their countries.

The WHO's 34-state executive board will meet on November 6-8th to recommend a replacement for Lee, who died on May 22 after surgery to remove a brain clot.

A special session of the WHO's top decision-making body, the 192-country World Health Assembly, will be held on November 9th to vote on the choice of the executive board.

The full list of candidates is as follows: Dr Kazem Behbehani (proposed by Kuwait) Dr Margaret Chan (proposed by China) Dr Julio Frenk (proposed by Mexico) David A. Gunnarsson (proposed by Iceland) Dr Nay Htun (proposed by Myanmar) Dr Karam Karam (proposed by Syria) Dr Bernard Kouchner (proposed by France) Dr Pascoal Manuel Mocumbi (proposed by Mozambique) Dr Shigeru Omi (proposed by Japan) Dr Alfredo Palacio Gonzalez (proposed by Ecuador) Pekka Puska (proposed by Finland) Elena Salgado Mendez (proposed by Spain) Dr Tomris Turmen (proposed by Turkey)