KP Faces Fractious Battle Over '15 Vice-Chair Vote

Guangzhou: One of the biggest questions facing delegates at the plenary meeting of the Kimberley Process in Guangzhou, China which started yesterday and ends on November 14 will be which country is elected as Vice Chair for 2015.

With Angola set to become Chair on January 1, Dubai and Australia are the candidates for the position of Vice Chair.

However, while China and African countries are believed to be in favor of Dubai, there is strong support for Australia from the European Union, the United States and Canada.

Due to the strength of opposition in both camps to the other’s candidacy, and as a result of the KP’s consensus-based decision-making system, it is possible that no decision regarding the Vice-Chair will be made at the plenary meeting since there is no other candidate on the ballot.

The need for consensus means that an abstention by opponents is enough to allow a decision to be made, but sources believe that ‘no’ votes will be cast against both Dubai’s and Australia’s candidacy.

Australia is not believed to have sought to be a candidate but was pushed forward by the United States in order to oppose Dubai’s candidacy.

Industry analyst Chaim Even-Zohar said the two countries sit at opposite ends of the diamond trading and KP certificate-issuing spectrum.

“Dubai trades around $40 billion of diamonds a year and issues about 10,000 KP certificates out of a total of 70,000-80,000 certificates issued annually,” he said. “Australia, by contrast, issues just 70 certificates a year, approximately one import and one export certificate a week.”