Ilyumzhinov wins FIDE Presidential elections 95 to 55

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Ilyumzhinov wins FIDE Presidential elections 95 to 55Kirsan Ilyumzhinov remains FIDE President for at least four more years. He just won the vote for FIDE President in Khanty-Maniysk convincingly with 95 votes, to 55 for Karpov, and 3 abstentions. Update: we just heard that Silvio Danailov won the European Chess Union presidential elections.

According to our source in Khanty-Mansiysk, after his re-election Ilyumzhinov immediately invited Anatoly Karpov to become Vice-President, to which his opponent hasn't responded yet.

In case of a close result, the Karpov team might have considered taking legal action against the many irregular proceedings that took place today. However, with such a devastating loss (similar to the result of the presidential elections in 2006 won by Ilyumzhinov against Bessel Kok), they will most probably refrain from this.

The Karpov side was optimistic until the last moment, and expected a close race. However, again the incumbent president won with a large margin, with most votes coming from small federations in Asia, Africa and South America.

Mark Crowther at TWIC did many updates throughout the day and has photos. He sums it up like this:

The result of all the campaigning the Kasparov and Karpov did over the last few months is that they gained one vote over the 96-54 loss of Bessel Kok in the FIDE elections in Torino, Italy in 2006. There seems a block vote within FIDE that is practically impossible to dislodge. It is quite plausible to see Ilyumzhinov stay in power another 15 years and beyond. I don't believe this represents the view of chess players throughout the World. If this is the case then players need to start being active in their own national associations and replacing the FIDE delegates that voted for Ilyumzhinov. In this regard Karpov's campaign probably started two years too late.

This voting block has meant that essentially there hasn't been a change in power within FIDE since 1982, with Ilyumzhinov taking over from Florencio Campomanes (and his still Vice-President Giorgos Makropoulos) who sent the organisation bankrupt in 1995.

Let me make clear why I was so opposed to his re-election. Any investigation of Kirsan Ilyumzhinov's background shows that he was prepared to do business with anyone, including both Saddam and his even more vile son Uday Hussein. There are just too many stories of the dubious origin of his money. His record as ruler in Kalmykia was just dreadful. He was in power for 15 years in which time the population fell significantly and the economic indicators put it right at the very bottom of all the Republics in Russia. At the same time the opposition local press was harrassed by Ilyumzhinov officials and one reporter was murdered. In this regard support from people in the Russian Government through Arkady Dvorkovich is absolutely incredible. I believe his leadership of FIDE has followed the same pattern of low achievement being trumpeted as a triumph. One thing is clear, Ilyumzhinov is a formidable political operator, and no-one in his class has challenged him for the Presidency.

Update 17.11

The Ilyumzhinov campaign website doesn't claim victory yet now claims victory and the Karpov campaign website admits defeat:

In an election that confirmed the worst of our fears about the integrity of the process, Kirsan Ilyumzhinov was reelected in Khanty-Mansiysk by the count of 95-55. Considering the rampant abuses that took place there, especially with the abhorrently corrupt proxy system, it is difficult, if not impossible, to consider this a legitimate election.

No matter how Anatoly Karpov decides to continue this battle to restore and transform the chess world, he wishes to express his thanks to everyone who joined us in this effort. We promoted chess worldwide to an unprecedented degree during this campaign. We proved beyond any doubt that a vast majority of the world’s chessplayers support our agenda and our vision for the future of chess as a 21st century sport and of FIDE as a modern organization. This election also showed how it has become impossible to effect this change from within FIDE, which has long ceased to represent the federations or the chess players.

Update 17.31

The elections for the post of President of the European Chess Union was won by the Bulgarian candidate, Silvio Danailov. In the first round Robert von Weizsäcker (the candidate supported by Karpov and Kasparov) was out, and in the second round Danailov beat Ali Nihat Yacizi with 30 against 24 votes.

Update 18.32

We were told that shortly before the ECU elections started, Von Weizsäcker fainted. The incumbent ECU President, Boris Kutin, suggested to postpone the elections a day, but when Von Weizsäcker was conscious again he said that this wasn't necessary. Eventually Ivan Sokolov addressed the delegates on behalf of Von Weizsäcker, but as said before, the team was out in the first round.

Update Sep 30, 08.28

In the comments Shaun Press puts everything a bit into perspective:

It is worth noting that the dispute in th General Assembly was mainly a procedural one. At the start of the meeting a report was presented by Geoffrey Borg on the proxy verification meeting held the night before. Once that report was finished the meeting moved to a roll call to identify all voting federations. At this point objections were made that the report needed to be voted to be accepted. But the difficulty here is that you can't have a vote without a roll call as you don't know who is valid or not. So the FIDE side argued roll call then voting, while the Karpov side argued a vote, then roll call. This isn't a problem with corrupt process, just a procedurally flawed one. However it is worth noting that FIDE followed their own statutes on this matter (as the Karpov campaign had requested), it was just the outcome that the Karpov camp did not like. Of course this a de-facto election battle as once the proxy issue was resolved, the way the vote would go would become clearer. The figure of 56 proxies being bandied around is also an incorrect one and based on a misunderstanding of the report. There were 56 countries checked by the verification committee, but some of this were holding proxies, rather than requiring them. In the case of my federation PNG, we were listed in the report, but only because we held the proxy for New Zealand. And in both the case of PNG and New Zealand, neither country was a supporter of Ilyumzhinov , but our proxy arrangement was approved as our paperwork was correct according to FIDE statutes. Now people may not like the outcome, (and I argued for the Karpov ticket within my federation), but from what I saw (for the first hour of GA) and from talking to people later, that the electoral procedures itself were legitimate. There may be an issue with the electoral campaign, but if you move away from the flawed premise that "everyone wants Karpov to win", you can look at why Ilyumzhinov won by a majority of 40 votes. Were federations offered 'inducements'? Yes, by both sides. Was pressure bought to bear on delegates in Khanty-Mansiysk? Again, yes on both sides. And while from afar this always looks terrible when your side loses, up close it it is (a) part of a system that both sides were part of and (b) not so far removed from elections I've seen in the wider world.

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