Belgium’s Ingmar De Vos (pictured) has taken over from Princess Haya as president of the FEI.

Ingmar has been secretary general of the FEI since 2011. Yesterday (Sunday 14 December) he received 98 votes out of a possible 131 in the first round of voting at the general assembly of horse sport’s governing body.

“I’m really very honoured and overwhelmed by this enormous support,” said Ingmar.

“I would like to thank you from the bottom of my heart for your confidence. Elections are always difficult, as it splits the family a little bit, but I guarantee that I will be the president of all of you, I will serve all the members of our community and I will work very hard to keep this unity.”

Ingmar paid tribute to outgoing president Princess Haya.

“Words cannot explain what she has done for our organisation. She has shown leadership, she has guided us through difficult waters, she has innovated us, she has modernised us,” he said.

“She has left us with a great legacy and I believe, together with many of you, that it is our responsibility to preserve the legacy and go on with the roadmap she has shown us. Words are not enough to thank her.”

Ingmar takes over for a four-year term, after Princess Haya stepped down to focus on her family and humanitarian work in Gaza, despite winning a vote in April to allow her to stand again.

The other candidates standing for election were Pierre Durand, Pierre Genecand, John McEwen, and Ulf Helgstrand. The latter withdrew his candidacy before the vote, and Javier Revuelta del Peral pulled out of the race in November, blaming a “flawed” process that fails to “meet the minimum democratic principles of independency, transparency and equal opportunity to all candidates.”