By Emily Goddard

Princess Haya Bint Al Hussein is stepping down following her two terms leading the FEI after first being elected in 2006 ©Getty ImagesFive candidates are currently gearing up for the International Equestrian Federation (FEI) Presidential election in what will be a defining moment of their careers.

The equestrian world will gather in Azerbaijan's capital Baku this weekend for the world governing body's General Assembly, where the vote is due to take place on Sunday (December 14).

Swiss businessman and horse breeder Pierre Genecand, Danish Equestrian Federation President and European Equestrian Federation vice-president Ulf Helgstrand, FEI first vice-president John McEwen, French Olympic show jumping champion Pierre Durand and FEI secretary general Ingmar De Vos will all be hoping to succeed incumbent leader Princess Haya Bint Al Hussein.

A sixth Presidential candidate, Spaniard Javier Revuelta del Peral, dropped out of the election race last month.

Interestingly, he cited irregularities in the election process as the reason for his withdrawal and claimed that there is a conflict of interest, considering De Vos' current position at the FEI.

"I have absolutely nothing against Ingmar De Vos as a person or as the secretary general," Revuelta del Peral said.

"However, as a candidate himself, that breaks all the principles of fairness in the process.

"From my point of view, Mr De Vos should have resigned as secretary general at exactly the time he declared as a candidate."

Equally, McEwen spoke of his concerns surrounding De Vos' candidacy and insisted he could offer a "best of both worlds" approach, with himself as President and De Vos remaining as secretary general.

Lord Stevens appears on the four-member Independent Advisory Committee set up to oversee the Presidential election in Baku ©Getty ImagesLord Stevens appears on the four-member Independent Advisory Committee set up to oversee the Presidential election in Baku ©Getty Images

The FEI revealed in September that an Independent Advisory Committee has been set up to preserve the integrity of the Presidential election process and to avoid any potential conflict of interest.

The temporary body, established under Article 36.1 of the FEI Statutes, is composed of Princess Haya, who is stepping down following her two terms leading the organisation after first being elected in 2006, Equestrian Community Integrity Unit chair and former Metropolitan Police Commissioner Lord Stevens of Great Britain, Israeli former FEI Tribunal chair Ken Lalo and FEI Audit and Compliance Unit chair Brian Mangan of Ireland.

The five candidates will present their manifestos to the National Federations, stakeholders and international media during the Meet the Presidential Candidates session on Saturday (December 13), which will be followed by a question and answer session - both will be aired live on FEI TV.

The order of the candidates' presentations will be determined by a draw overseen by the Independent Advisory Committee on Friday (December 12).

The winning candidate will need a two-thirds majority of votes cast to be elected President, with multiple ballots allowed.

A simple majority will be sufficient on the third ballot or on the second if only two candidates remain.

The FEI President will begin his term in office at the end of the General Assembly and will serve for a period of four years.

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