UN holds informal poll on 12 candidates for next UN chief

United Nations: The UN Security Council held its first informal poll on Thursday on the dozen candidates competing to succeed Ban Ki-moon as secretary-general on 1 January, a secretive vote behind closed doors.

 UN holds informal poll on 12 candidates for next UN chief

United Nations. Reuters

The 15 council members decided not to reveal the results unlike the informal "straw" polls 10 years ago, which were
made public and led to Ban's election to the world's top diplomatic post.

Japan's UN Ambassador Koro Bessho, who holds the rotating council presidency, confirmed after the two-hour closed
council session that the vote had taken place.

"This is private," Britain's UN Ambassador Matthew Rycroft told reporters earlier. "This is a recruitment process. It must be done respecting the confidentiality of the candidates."

The United States, Britain and France stressed on Thursday that they want a strong secretary-general to lead the United Nations through turbulent times, but Russia and China haven't made clear what qualities are key for them.

"This could not be a more important job," US Ambassador Samantha Power said as she headed into the council to vote.
"And it could not be a more important time to choose the best possible leader for this organisation on which so much depends and so many depend."

France's UN Ambassador Francois Delattre noted that some have compared the vote for UN secretary-general to the vote for a new pope to lead the Catholic church.

It's "critically important" to ensure that the process inspires trust and ensures that "we simply have the best
candidate selected to become the world's number one diplomat," he said.

According to the UN Charter, the secretary-general is chosen by the 193-member General Assembly on the recommendation of the Security Council. In practice, this has meant that the council's five permanent members the US, Russia, China, Britain and France have veto power over the candidates.

By tradition, the job of secretary-general has rotated among regions and Asia, Africa, Latin America and Europe have all held the top post. East European nations, including Russia, argue that they have never had a secretary-general and it is their turn. There has also never been a woman secretary-general and a group of 56 nations are campaigning for the first female UN chief.

The 12 candidates include six men and six women eight from Eastern Europe, two from Latin America, one from Western
Europe and one from the Asia-Pacific region.

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Updated Date: Jul 21, 2016 22:53:58 IST