Paris, Sunday: FIA Presidential hopeful Ari Vatanen has asked the United Nations to observe the FIA elections in October, expressing his suspicions that the poll may be rigged in favour of his rival Jean Todt.
Todt is the preferred successor of incumbent Max Mosley, who believes that the Frenchman will continue his work in the FIA of dragging each and every category of motorsport to near-destruction with a combination of unworkable ideas, a dictatorial style of governance and embarrassing sex scandals.
The ex-Ferrari boss is disliked by many in the motorsport world, in spite of (or perhaps because of) his overwhelming successes with Peugeot’s rallying operation and Ferrari’s F1 team. However, in the democratic world of the FIA this counts for little, with strong backing from the prestigious motoring organisations of countries like Kyrgyzstan, Swaziland and The Lao People’s Democratic Republic all but guaranteeing Todt victory in October’s elections.
“I am very concerned about the validity of the October elections,” Vatanen said in a letter to the United Nations. “Mr. Mosley and his anointed successor, Mr. Todt seem intent on warping democratic process in order to install the preferred candidate as FIA President. I would urge the UN to strongly consider observing the FIA’s presidential elections of October 2009, to ensure that democracy is upheld and the right candidate elected to office.”
The UN has not yet commented on the request, though it is expected to turn it down on the basis that monitoring the convoluted internal workings of international sporting organisations is somewhat outside its jurisdiction. “Were the FIA a tinpot banana republic, the UN might be able to help,” one political analyst commented.
Todt is confident, however, that he can secure victory in October’s elections without the need for fraud, a preliminary poll among FIA members giving him a staggering 87% of the vote, with a record 126% turnout.