U.N. Elections Chief Faces Ouster as Vote Nears

December 7th, 2005  
Team Infidel

Topic: U.N. Elections Chief Faces Ouster as Vote Nears

I knew this woman.. She was a pain in the ass and I am personally happy to see this.

UNITED NATIONS, Dec. 4 - The head of the United Nations elections agency said Sunday that she would resist a reported action to oust her from her position, a move that would come a week before crucial elections her office is overseeing in Iraq.
Secretary General Kofi Annan plans to deliver a dismissal letter to Carina Perelli, head of the United Nations' Electoral Assistance Division, The Associated Press reported and two United Nations officials confirmed. The officials said they could not speak for attribution because the action had yet to occur and involved "legalities."
"We're going to fight these charges because I reject every single one of them," said Ms. Perelli, whose office promotes and monitors free elections around the world and was credited publicly by President Bush for its work in Iraq.
Voting in the latest of three elections in Iraq that her office has organized starts next Monday. In an interview, Ms. Perelli said, "What is going to be the impact of this timing on the credibility of the process? In elections, you wish for the best, but I fear the worst."
Ms. Perelli said she had not received any formal notice of her dismissal but expected the action to be based on a United Nations-commissioned management review of her office in March.
The 22-page report, which was based on interviews with 29 current and former members of her staff, accused her of treating employees abusively, forcing them to run demeaning errands for her and other ranking officials and creating an atmosphere where "sexual innuendo is part of the 'fabric' of the division." This included such practices as "unwelcome advances" and "a constant stream of sexual references, jokes" and the use of "sexually explicit, coarse language," the report said.
"Membership within the inner circle appears to be based on personal affinities of the director rather than on competence or experience," the report said. "The syndrome is so pronounced," it said, "that it affects all aspects of the division's operations and contributes to serious problems of motivation, not to mention serious questions around the director's judgment ethics, and basic professionalism."
Ms. Perelli is a strong-willed 48-year-old sociologist and political scientist from Uruguay with a background of political activism from growing up under military rule. She became head of the electoral division in 1998 and has been viewed as a rising star at the United Nations.
The report, done by Mannet S.A.R.L., a Swiss consulting firm, did not comment unfavorably on the work of her agency, which has been widely praised for its success in establishing credible elections in conflicted places like East Timor, Afghanistan, Sierra Leone and Iraq. Mr. Bush singled her out by name in his 2005 State of the Union message.
"I don't know anything about what goes on at the United Nations, but why the rush?," said Patrick Merloe, director of electoral programs at the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs in Washington.
"I can say without reservation that the United Nations electoral division under Carina Perelli has rebounded from what appeared to be a lull and risen to become a leading force in the electoral work of the international community," he said.
The disciplinary action comes at a time when the investigation of the United Nations' scandal-ridden oil-for-food program in Iraq has brought pressure on the organization to take stern action against officials violating standards and to generally make its management more transparent and accountable.
In addition to questioning the timing of the move against her just before the Iraqi parliamentary election, Ms. Perelli also questioned the severity of the punishment. "You'd think they might have asked me to step aside for the good of the organization, but that's a conversation we never had," she said.
Ms. Perelli said that next week's vote was the most complex of the three her office had helped set up but one that held out the best hope of bringing political stability to Iraq. The elections are a cornerstone of the Iraqi-American strategy to co-opt the insurgency in Iraq by persuading the embittered Sunni Arab minority to take part in the democratic process.
She said that 7,300 polling stations had been established and 135,000 trained Iraqi electoral workers would take part.
Ms. Perelli said she did not know whether the dismissal letter would direct her to leave her post immediately or permit her to continue working under a form of suspension. Stéphane Dujarric, Mr. Annan's spokesman, declined to comment.
Ms. Perelli said she planned to appeal her case before the United Nations' Joint Disciplinary Committee.