The Latest: China’s Qu Dongyu is new chief of UN food agency

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Qu Dongyu from China, one of the candidates for the Director-General position of the FAO (UN Food and Agriculture Organization), arrives to address a plenary meeting of the 41st Session of the Conference, at the FAO headquarters in Rome, Saturday, June 22, 2019. The new FAO Director-General will be voted on Sunday. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)

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ROME (AP) — The Latest on picking the new chief for the Food and Agriculture Organization (all times local):

1:55 p.m.

China’s agricultural deputy minister Qu Dongyu has been elected as the new director general of the United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

Qu is the first person from a Communist country to hold the FAO director-general’s chair. He will succeed José Graziano da Silva from Brazil for a 4-year term.

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12:30 p.m.

Members of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) have started voting to elect the new head of the U.N. food agency, and China’s candidate is seen as the front-runner.

The 194 member countries, convened at the FAO’s headquarters in Rome for the agency’s 41st conference, were picking the new director general on Sunday among three candidates from China, France and Georgia who all have extensive experience in the sector. The candidates for the first time include a woman.

China has nominated its agricultural deputy minister Qu Dongyu, who, if elected, would be the first person from a Communist country to hold the FAO director-general’s chair.

The U.S. backs Davit Kirvalidze, the former Georgian minister of agriculture, while Catherine Geslain-Lanéelle, former head of France’s agricultural ministry, is the European Union’s candidate.

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