The Security Council formally chose Foreign Minister Ban Ki-moon of the Republic of Korea as its nominee to be the next Secretary-General of the United Nations for a five-year term when incumbent Kofi Annan steps down on 31 December. The recommendation, made in a resolution adopted in a private meeting by acclamation, now goes to the 192-member General Assembly for formal approval.
Assembly President Sheikha Haya Al Khalifa of Bahrain has already received a letter from Council President for the month, Japanese Ambassador Kenzo Oshima, informing her of the recommendation and she will consult with the chairs of the regional groups as soon as possible to determine a date for the appointment.
In a statement issued by his spokesman welcoming the Council’s decision, Mr. Annan said he had the highest respect for Mr. Ban, “having had the pleasure of working with him both in his present capacity and when he was Chef de Cabinet to the President of the General Assembly.” Mr. Ban served in the latter position in 2001 when Han Seung-soo of the Republic of Korea presided over the Assembly.
“The Secretary-General hopes that the General Assembly will be able to reach a decision on this important matter in the near future, so that the incoming Secretary-General designate will have time to prepare fully for his assumption of office on 1 January,” the statement added. “For his part, the Secretary-General will do everything possible to ensure a smooth transition.”
Under procedures for appointing the world body’s new chief, after the recommendation is transmitted from the Council to the Assembly, a draft resolution is issued for the Assembly to take action. The customary practice is that the draft is coordinated by the Chair of the regional group from which the next Secretary-General will come, in this case Japan, and co-sponsored by the Member States holding the Chairs of the other regional groups.
After appropriate consultations with Member States, the Assembly President fixes a date for the draft to be taken up. Theoretically, if all Member States are agreed on how to proceed, the Assembly could make the appointment on the same day that the Security Council makes its recommendation.
The last four Secretaries-General were appointed by the Assembly through a resolution adopted by consensus. A vote will take place only if a Member State requests it and a simple majority of those voting would be required for the Assembly to adopt the resolution. But the Assembly could decide that the decision requires a two-thirds majority. If a vote is taken, it will be by secret ballot.