Princess Haya signals intention to stand for re-election as FEI President

HRH Princess Haya today signalled her intention to stand for re-election as FEI President following an overwhelming vote in favour of amending the FEI Statutes to allow FEI Presidents to serve three consecutive four-year terms in office.

Princess Haya
Princess Haya
Photo: StockImageServices.com

The vote on amending the Statutes to prolong the term of the FEI President took place at the FEI Extraordinary General Assembly (EGA) in Lausanne (SUI) today, with 103 National Federations voting in favour of the amendment. There were three votes against the amendment and no abstentions. The EGA also voted in favour of applying the same term to all FEI Bureau members.

Princess Haya had stated in September last year that she would not stand for re-election, despite an earlier move by FEI Regional Group Chairpersons and the National Federations to amend the FEI Statutes at the 2013 General Assembly.

Following Princess Haya’s statement, the amendment proposal was removed from the General Assembly agenda, but a petition signed by 100 National Federations during the meeting in Montreux (SUI) called for an EGA. As a result, the EGA was included in the timetable for this week’s two-day FEI Sports Forum, which got underway yesterday at the International Management Development Institute (IMD) in Lausanne.

Princess Haya excused herself from today’s pre-vote discussions and the vote itself, seeking delegates’ approval to allow FEI Secretary General Ingmar De Vos to chair the meeting. Following the vote in favour of amending the Statutes, an emotional Princess Haya returned to a standing ovation.

“I always felt that when people are given a responsibility, given faith and given belief they are given an opportunity to do well in their lives and that’s what you’ve always given to me. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate that, it’s a huge honour,” a visibly moved Princess Haya said, prompting further prolonged applause from delegates at the meeting.

“I’m very honoured for the opportunity you’ve given me to be available as a future president of the FEI for a third term. I don’t want to go further than that today because I do believe there’s the possibility that there’ll be other candidates and I believe they should be given the opportunity to come forward. But at the same time you have my commitment to you.”

At her first meeting FEI Bureau meeting after her election in 2006, Princess Haya proposed limiting FEI Presidents to two four-year terms, a reform which was later adopted as an FEI Statute. Today’s vote reverses that decision, but still limits the Presidential term. Previously the FEI Presidential term of office was unlimited.

The FEI Presidential election will take place at the General Assembly in December. The FEI Bureau will decide on the application period for Presidential candidates during its in-person meeting on 9 and 10 June. The Swiss National Federation has already announced its support for Swiss businessman and former President of the Geneva CHI, Pierre Genecand, although his candidacy has yet to be officially declared.

Today’s EGA also unanimously supported the creation of the FEI Olympic Council. The Council, which was proposed by the FEI Bureau in February of this year, will be a more permanent liaison between the FEI and the members of the Olympic Family with an equestrian background in order to protect the place of equestrian sport in the Olympic programme.

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