Former Australian Finance Minister, Mathias Cormann, has made it to the final two candidates in the race to become the Secretary-General of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).
Cormann will now face Sweden’s candidate, Cecilia Malmstrom, in the final stage of the selection process.
This comes after Greek candidate, Anna Diamantopoulou, withdrew from contention on Monday after failing to find enough support among the OECD’s 38 member countries. Swiss candidate, Philipp Hildebrand, also pulled out last Friday.
“I decided to withdraw my bid to be SG of the OECD, in an effort to facilitate consensus in the selection process,” Diamantopoulou said on Twitter, adding that she was “grateful” to Greek Prime Minister, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, for his “constant trust and endorsement.”
In response, Mitsotakis congratulated Diamantopoulou for “a truly inspiring campaign” and thanked the members countries who supported her candidacy.
“In the face of the great challenges we all face, Greece remains committed to an ever closer cooperation within the OECD framework,” Mitsokis added on Twitter.
A Cormann victory would be the first time the OECD has been led by someone from the Asia-Pacific region, but there is also a strong push by some members for the organisation to have its first female leader.
“We will continue to work and engage with OECD member countries around the world until the final decision is made,” Cormann told The Sydney Morning Herald.
“We are not taking anything or anyone for granted. We are putting our best foot forward. It will be up to OECD member countries to decide who is the right choice.”
Observers think Australia could secure backing from within eastern Europe as well as Britain, New Zealand, Japan, South Korea and many Latin America members.
The Australian government is hopeful that the United States will also support Cormann but the Biden administration’s position is unclear.