However, Ping said that he had not been to South Africa for several months.
African Union (AU) Commission chair Jean Ping has denied a report by South Africa’s Sunday Times newspaper that he is pulling out of the race for re-election.
“I am, and remain a candidate for re-election as chairperson of the African Union Commission, as I have not been withdrawn by my country, Gabon, and my region,” Ping said in a statement ahead of this weekend’s AU Summit, to be highlighted by the election of the AU Commission chair.
"I fully intend to stay in the race until the very end and hope to earn the renewed trust of our continent’s leaders," he said.
After a deadlocked election at the last summit in January, the two main candidates - Ping who has been in charge since 2008 and South Africa’s Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma - are expected to tango again at the summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
Neither Dlamini-Zuma, an ex-wife of South African President Jacob Zuma, or Ping secured enough votes to win an election on Jan. 30. Zuma has been visiting leaders in southern Africa since then to rally support as South Africa, which has the continent’s largest economy, pushes for a bigger role for the AU in global politics.
Dlamini-Zuma’s candidacy is opposed by West African nations, including Nigeria, Africa’s most-populous nation. The election is set to take place at a leaders’ summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia’s capital, from July 9 to 16. (Sources : PANA, Infosplusgabon, Bloomberg).
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