The 15-member Security Council on Monday recommended the soft-spoken, low profile South Korean Foreign Minister Ban Ki-Moon to the 192-member General Assembly for election as the eighth Secretary-General of the United Nations. Ban will start on a five-year term beginning January 1.
Under the rules of procedure, the Assembly can elect the recommended candidate the same day or within next few days, depending on the consultations among the member States.
Once the recommendation reaches the President of the Assembly, she will hold consultations with the chairs of regional groups to fix a meeting for the election. Japan [Images], as chair of Asian group from which Ban comes, will coordinate with chairs of other groups and they together would sponsor the resolution for Ban's election.
The election could be by acclamation as had happened in the case of last four incumbents or by a vote if a member State demands. In case of vote, simple majority of those present and voting would be needed though the Assembly could decide on two-thirds majority. The rules require that a vote be held 24 hours after the resolution is circulated but the members could suspend the rules at the request of the President to elect the new Secretary General on the same day.
At a closed-door meeting, the Council voted to recommend Ban who was the only candidate left in the field after his six challengers, including Indian nominee Shashi Tharoor and Sri Lanka's [Images] Jayantha Dhanapala, withdrew one by one. The 62-year-old South Korean had strong backing in the Council.
Diplomats said Ban was not the first choice of Washington but the Chinese support to him helped sway US officials in his favour. Ban worked with the United States, China, Russia [Images] and Japan in the now stalled six-party talks to resolve the North Korean nuclear issue.
A diplomat, speaking on the condition anonymity, said Ban was elected by default as no other strong contender came in the field. Ban was born in 1944 when his country was still under Japanese occupation and has memories of the Korean War. He has served in New Delhi, Washington and United Nations during his 33-year diplomatic career before becoming his country's foreign minister.
He comes to the organisation at a very sensitive time when it is under attack for its inflated and inefficient bureaucracy, corruption, lack of oversight and its failure to stop killings in Darfur region of Sudan and to effectively intervene in Lebanon.
The organisation is also finding it difficult to get enough peacekeepers and donor fatigue is threatening to adversely affect its humanitarian and other projects.
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