Presidents, royalty expected for Mandela memorial

December 8, 2013

The memorial service for former South African president Nelson Mandela on Tuesday is poised to be one of the largest such gatherings in generations, with tens of thousands of local mourners and dozens of foreign leaders expected.

South African officials say the normal seating capacity of Johannesburg’s FNB Stadium probably won’t suffice to accommodate all mourners. Security for the event is likely to be tight as the list of presidents, heads of government, royalty and celebrities keeps growing by the hour.

The South African government said Sunday that 53 heads of state and government, as well as cabinet ministers, have confirmed that they will attend the service.

Here’s a selection of confirmed attendees compiled by the Associated Press:

●President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama, as well as former presidents George W. Bush, Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter.

●U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and predecessor Kofi Annan.

●British Prime Minister David Cameron.

●French President François Hollande and predecessor Nicolas Sarkozy.

●Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and three of his predecessors.

●German President Joachim Gauck.

●Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy and Prince Felipe.

●Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff and three of her predecessors, including Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva.

●Indian President Pranab Mukherjee.

●Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott.

●Dutch Foreign Minister Frans Timmermans and King Willem-Alexander.

●Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt.

●Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg and Crown Prince Haakon.

●Czech Foreign Minister Jan Kohout.

●European Council President Herman Van Rompuy.

●Haitian Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe.

●Nepalese Foreign Minister Madhav Prasad Ghimire.

●Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa.

●Bangladeshi President Abdul Hamid.

●Former Finnish president Martti Ahtisaari and former Irish head of state Mary Robinson, as part of the delegation from The Elders, a group of former statesmen that Mandela helped to launch.

●British entrepreneur Richard Branson and singer Peter Gabriel, who brought the idea of The Elders to Mandela.

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