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Alumnus Ban Leads the Straw Poll for UNSG

  • July 27, 2006
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Alumnus Ban Ki-moon(Department of International Relations, class of '70) came first among the candidates running to become the next U.N. secretary-general in a straw poll conducted in Washington, reports said.

"The poll was carried out at 3 p.m. (local time) and Ban was ahead of all three other rivals," Yonhap News quoted a U.N. source as saying.

The straw poll, however, cannot be deemed reliable as it is not until later this year that the new U.N. chief will be officially elected.

Running against Ban are Thai Deputy Prime Minister Kurakiart Sathirathai, former U.N. disarmament chief Jayantha Dhanapala from Sri Lanka, and current U.N. Undersecretary-General Shashi Tharoor from India.

AP reported that Ban earned 12 out of 15 Security Council votes, while one voted against him and two abstained. A candidate needs at least nine of the Council votes without any veto.

Only five permanent members hold veto power. It was not made known whether Ban's 12 votes included support from all of the permanent members.

The source was quoted as saying that there was a considerable gap in the approval votes between Ban and other candidates.

Coming in second was said to be India's Shashi Tharoor, who received 10 votes in favor, two against and three abstentions.

Following the top two were Thailand's Kurakiart Sathirathai who got three votes against, and Sri Lanka's Jayantha Dhanapala who received six against.

The Security Council is expected to decide on the next secretary-general by October after another straw poll. The new secretary-general's five-year term begins in January next year.

Ban, a career diplomat, announced his bid this February.

The next secretary-general is expected to come from the Asian region based on the geographical rotation mutually understood among the member countries.

A straw poll is conducted to decide on the final candidate for recommendation. The straw polls continue until a single candidate is up for the de facto approval process in the assembly.

Ban is a career diplomat who previously served as South Korea's ambassador to the United Nations and Austria.

He is currently in Southeast Asia to attend various conferences including the ASEAN Regional Forum opening today. Ban is to hold talks with counterparts from the nuclear negotiation member countries, including North Korea.

Korea Herald Staff Reporter Lee Joo-hee (angiely@heraldm.com)

* For more information on Ban, visit the website of Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade: http://www.mofat.go.kr/me/me_a001/me_b002/me_c007/me01_02_sub01.jsp
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