South Korean Foreign Minister Ban Ki-moon is almost certain to become the next United Nations secretary-general after the last informal vote in the UN Security Council on October 2 showed his candidacy firmly supported by 14 of the council's 15 members, including all five permanent veto-yielding members.
Now the actual selection of the winning candidate moves to the next and probably last step in the Security Council -- a formal vote. That vote is set for October 9. But with such strong backing, the selection of Ban Ki-moon appears now to be a mere formality.
According to the UN Charter, the Security Council recommends a candidate for secretary-general to the General Assembly, which then approves or rejects the candidate with a simple majority.
But in the 61-year history of the UN, every candidate recommended by the council has been approved by the assembly, RadioFreeEurope says.
Ban, if official elected, would be the first Asian UN chief in about 35 years since U Thant from Burma, now known as Myanmar, served as the world's top diplomat between 1961 and 1971.
He would head the world body for five years from January 1 next year, the Herald Sun reports.
His closest competitor, India’s Shashi Tharoor, won 10 votes of encouragement and three votes against, including one veto, and on Monday evening conceded his race was over. The remaining candidates trailed far behind.
Mr Ban’s campaign, which began eight months ago, is likely to be studied closely by future aspirants for the post. His speeches focused on the need for UN reform, but studiously avoided any controversy – winning him few admirers in the media, or even amongst diplomats, the Financial Times reports.
Mr. Ban, 62, is a soft-spoken man who in six months of campaigning around the world has had to learn the Western art of self-promotion after early audiences complained they found his laid-back presentation underwhelming. He still frequently cites his own “humility” in exercising responsibility, but argues that it is an asset that should not be confused with indecisiveness.
In response to concerns about whether he has the strength and presence to be secretary general, he has pointed to his leadership in the weighty and delicate talks aimed at ending the nuclear standoff with North Korea .
Mr. Ban is familiar with the United Nations, where he served as first secretary at the South Korean mission from 1974 to 1978 and was chief assistant to Han Seung-soo, president of the General Assembly in 2001. He has also served as director of the United Nations division at the South Korean Foreign Ministry, the New York Times reports.
Prepared by Alexander Timoshik
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