Maj. Gen. Ahmed Naser al-Raisi, inspector general at the UAE’s interior ministry, has been elected as Interpol’s president for a four-year term.
Police chiefs and other representatives from the organization’s 194 member countries are attending the 89th General Assembly, taking place from 23-25 November in Istanbul.
In an opinion piece for the government-run newspaper in Abu Dhabi, al-Raisi said he wants to modernize and transform Interpol, drawing on the UAE’s role as a leader in tech-driven policing and a bridge builder in the international community.
The new appointment makes him the first candidate from the Middle Eastern region to be elected into the position since the global crime fighting agency was founded in the 1920s.
On Tuesday, delegates voted to admit the Federated States of Micronesia, raising the number of Interpol members to 195, according to an Interpol statement.
The election for president was held because the first-ever Chinese president of the body, Meng Hongwei, vanished mid-way through his four-year term on a return trip to China in 2018. It subsequently emerged that he had been detained, accused of bribery and other alleged crimes. Interpol then announced that Meng had resigned the presidency.
A vice president, Kim Jong Yan from South Korea, was swiftly elected as a replacement to serve out the rest of Meng’s term. Kim’s presidency was due to end in 2020, but his tenure has been extended by a year after the coronavirus pandemic prompted Interpol to scrap its annual assembly last year. His replacement will be elected for one four-year term.