Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon
As the only candidate to receive the approval of all five permanent members of the UN Security Council, South Korean Foreign Minister Ban Ki-Moon seems certain to become the eighth Secretary-General of the United Nations.
The pre-voting procedure of the Security Council involves a series of “straw polls” to indicate whether Security Council members encourage, discourage, or have no opinion toward a candidate. The latest poll was the first in which the votes of permanent members of the Security Council were distinguished from those of the rotating members, and thus amounted to an indication of whether a candidate would face a veto by a permanent member.
All five candidates other than Ban received at least one of their “discourage” votes from a permanent member, essentially dooming their candidacies. Cementing Ban’s expected success, Shashi Tharoor, an Indian who is currently UN Undersecretary-General for Public Information and who was the leading challenger to Ban, announced that he was withdrawing from the race after learning that one of the three votes against his candidacy was cast by a permanent member (my guess is China).
Although I understand that the position of Secretary-General has historically been rotated geographically (and that the next S-G should, according to this practice, come from Asia), I can’t help but feel a little wistful at the thought of my own preferred candidate putting his immense talents to use tackling the wide range of international problems that the United Nations addresses every day.
The Security Council is expected to meet next Monday, 9 October, to hold a vote formally endorsing a candidate, who will then be forwarded to the General Assembly for approval under Article 97 of the UN Charter.