Dubai’s margin of victory surprises Expo chiefs

In the final round of voting, Dubai swept aside Yekaterinburg, Russia, with a 70 per cent lead on 164 votes cast.

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PARIS // Dubai’s winning margin is one of the steepest in the recent history of the World Expo, according to a senior official of the event’s governing body

“It is something I expected, what I didn’t expect was the number difference,” said Vicente Gonzalez Loscertales, secretary general of the Bureau International des Expositions.

“There was such a big difference that it overwhelmed the other countries. The Emirates’ win is the biggest win I have seen in my 20 years here.”

In the first round, Dubai secured 47 per cent of the 163 votes cast, knocking Sao Paulo, Brazil, out of the competition.

The emirate clinched 53 per cent of 165 votes cast in the second round, removing Izmir, Turkey, from the competition.

In the final round, Dubai swept aside Yekaterinburg, Russia, with 70 per cent of the 164 votes cast.

Mr Loscertales said Dubai had always been a strong candidate thanks to its commitment and determination.

Several diplomats backed the UAE’s approach of reaching out to countries with a clear and well-formulated project.

“It exhibited the commitment to developmental practices and ideals and you were really able to see it [the Expo project] could happen,” said Nimisha Madhvani, the ambassador for the Uganda embassy in Paris. She declined to say how she voted.

“The others had great models but in the new world, the UAE projected itself as the centre of the world and people have believed that,” she said. “They are a power in themselves and no, this is not a small nation because with the UAE oil speaks volumes.

“The UAE is globally well-regarded. They have shown with hard work and a commitment to making something from nothing, you can create a global oasis in the desert.”

rtalwar@thenational.ae