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Criticism mounts as Interpol set to elect Russian as president 

Paris, November 22

International police body Interpol is expected to elect a senior Russian official as its next president on Wednesday, in a move that has provoked alarm in Europe and the United States about the risk of Kremlin meddling.

Interpol’s 194 member states, meeting in Dubai for their annual congress, will hold the election on Wednesday morning, a spokesman for the Lyon-based agency said, with a candidate needing two-thirds of the ballots cast to be elected. Multiple voting rounds are possible.

There are two official candidates, and write-ins are still possible, but the vote is widely expected to lead to Russia’s Alexander Prokopchuk, a police major-general and currently one of Interpol’s four vice-presidents, being chosen to succeed China’s Meng Hongwei as president for a four-year term.

Meng disappeared in September during a trip to China. Days after his wife reported him missing, Chinese authorities said he was being investigated for taking bribes. He has not been seen since, but sent a letter to Interpol resigning.

The presidency of the body is largely ceremonial, with day-to-day work handled by Secretary-General Jurgen Stock of Germany, but it still commands influence. That has led to widespread concern in Europe and the United States about the possibility of Russia being able to exploit Interpol’s power.

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