FIDE Presidential elections start in chaos, voting has begun (UPDATES)

| 0 | Chess Event Coverage
Ilyumzhinov vs KarpovOn the first day of the 81st FIDE Congress the FIDE Presidential elections have immediately led to chaotic situations. The meeting in Khanty-Mansiysk started with protests about unfair procedures, an agitated Kasparov trying to make his point and two delegates from Peru who both claim to be the chairman of the chess federation. Then, in the middle of things, the incumbent President started his presidential speech.

The Russian news service Soviet Sport already reports:

"The meeting began with a roll call. According to the rules here should be attended by representatives of all countries, under the wing of the FIDE. Some delegates could not arrive at Khanty-Mansiysk, but sent an official letter of attorney, which gave his voice for that particular candidate. At the time of roll call, with strong statements made by the 13-time world champion Garry Kasparov (representing the team Karpov), there was shouting about the illegality of the vote and a demand for the adjournment of the meeting.

The meeting wasn't adjourned. According to our source in Khanty-Mansiysk the voting hasn't started yet. "It's a complete chaos. Representatives of the Karpov team aren't able to speak. There have been some protests already about unfair procedures, and at some point the FIDE guys decided that 'only the delegates are allowed to speak'. When one councellor said something after that, she was threatened to be kicked out of the room."

Then there was the case of Peru, one of the countries of which it is not clear on which candidate the delegate will vote for. "There were two different representatives, who both claimed to be the chairman of the chess federation. Then Ilyumzhinov went to the microphone and said he had been to Peru, and that the first who had spoken was the actual chairman, despite the fact that the second speaker had documents to proof his status. Needless to say, he supports Karpov."

"This led to more aproar, and more threats. And then, out of the blue, Kirsan started his presidential speech, telling what he had reached in 15 years of reign, for about 20 minutes. Then FIDE Treasurer Nigel Freeman spoke. At this point it's not clear when the actual voting will take place."

Update 11.29

Kasparov questioned the proxy list and procedures. TWIC's Mark Crowther writes:

In TWIC59 I reported on the overthrow of Campomanes. There was a report about his behaviour in the 1994 Moscow FIDE elections. "Also Kurt Jungwirth presented a "devastating" (according to one observer) report about election irregularities during the 1994 Moscow Olympiad. In one particularly glaring case Campomanes used the Philippine vote himself voted and the Brunei proxy (which was given to the Philippine delegate not Campomanes) he was not entitled to do either of these things. This, of course was enough for him to get through the crucial vote allowing him to stand."

However the abuse of these proxies has continued over the years and in some ways has practically guaranteed Kirsan Ilyumznhinov's re-election. For many years Campomanes remained on FIDE's payroll. His knowledge of the election process and contacts was probably the main reason.

Update 11:42

The proxy list includes 56 countries of sub-delegation of their voting power to representatives of other states. According to Utro Kasparov said: "The normal procedure was violated. We simply insist on respect for the law." The 13th World Champion also said that on the eve of the opening of FIDE Congress there were clear examples of fraud and cheating by the organizers of the event. "In recent days there has been a monstrous pressure on the delegates. I know that members of some African countries were sent home, after their proxy was taken."

Update 12.48

The actual voting has started. The delegates can choose between:

Presidential ticket Mr. Kirsan Ilyumzhinov 1. President - Mr. Kirsan Ilyumzhinov 2. Deputy President - Mr. Georgios Makropoulos 3. Vice President - Mr. Lewis Ncube 4. Vice President - Mrs. Beatriz Marinello 5. General Secretary - Mr. Ignatius Leong 6. Treasurer - Mr. Nigel Freeman

Presidential ticket of Mr. Anatoly Karpov 1. President - Mr. Anatoly Karpov 2. Deputy President - Mr. Richard Conn Jr 3. Vice President - Dr. Aguinaldo Jaime 4. Vice President - Prof. Dr. Alisa Maric 5. General Secretary - Mr. Abd Hamid Majid 6. Treasurer - Mr. Viktor Kapustin

Update 13.02

RIA Novosti reports that the procedure for the election began at around 16.00 local time (12.00 CET).

Voting booths open, the curtains drawn apart. Before entering the voting booth a delegate has to leave on the table at the counting commission all the photos and video, and mobile phones. Such a requirement is to prevent bribery of delegates who could fix his choice and then submit a "customer" photos as evidence. Before the elections, the delegates passed rigorous instruction - there was over 30 minutes of explaining the rules of filling the ballot. Presumably the voting will last about three hours, after which the counting commission will begin to count the votes. The composition of the counting commission included representatives of the British Virgin Islands, Barbados and Italy.

According to Soviet Sport two members of the counting commission were replaced at the last minute.

Update 13.20

Sportcom adds a few details from this morning:

The Congress was opened late, but from the very beginning we have observed a number of technical problems. As it turned out, the hall where the delegates gathered, was unable to accommodate all members of Congress. Then, because of broken microphones half of the delegates have not heard a report on proxy voting.

Update 13.29

Ugra Inform speaks of a 'scandal' at the elections, because there is

uncertainty among the participants of the legitimacy of the right to transfer the votes of some countries. Most discussions have been about proxies for Ghana, Ireland, Jamaica, Sudan, Rwanda, Thailand, Ethiopia, Fiji, Laos, South Korea, Macau, Malawi, Myanmar, Solomon Islands and Cyprus.

In his speech Karpov mentioned that the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has long departed from this practice, "because it is very scandalous and questionable".

Update 14.18

Meanwhile, the Ilyumzhinov campaign site claims the support of 'a staggering 102 national federations', and Kasparov is quoted by UkrInform:

We have many things in life apart from FIDE. But Ilyumzhinov has something to lose. Moreover, apart from the presidency he has nothing left. Delegates are intimidated almost all dance to the tune of Ilyumzhinov. We're trying everything possible, but apparently it's useless.

Update 14.46

Robert Fontaine and Gérard Demuydt of Europe-Echecs posted a video with footage of the General Assembly. It includes an agitated Garry Kasparov and Bachar Kouatly who demand a different procedure. At some point the GA had to be stopped for a while.

Update 14.54

Ilyumzhinov wins the elections - see our separate report.
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