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Gaddafi fails in bid to remain African Union chair

Libya's leader Muammar Gaddafi speaks at the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) food security summit in Rome November 16, 2009. REUTERS/Filippo Monteforte/POOL

ADDIS ABABA (Reuters) - Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi failed in his attempt to stay on as chairman of the African Union for another year after African leaders on Sunday chose Malawi’s president to succeed him.

Gaddafi was elected chairman of the 53-nation AU at its annual summit last year, despite strong opposition from some African leaders, and diplomats said he was seeking another term.

The chairmanship is usually decided on a regional, rotating basis and this year was the turn of southern Africa.

Leaders, on the first day of their summit in Addis Ababa, selected Malawi’s President Bingu wa Mutharika to succeed Gaddafi.

Gaddafi used his farewell speech to again urge African leaders to begin the process of political unification.

“The world’s engine is turning into 7 or 10 countries and we are not aware of that,” Gaddafi said. “The EU is becoming one country and we are not aware of it. We have to get united to be united. Let’s be united today.”