Annan takes early lead in poll for UN chief

Voting finally got underway in the UN Security Council for a new UN Secretary-General last night, with the English-speaking Kofi Annan of Ghana emerging as an early front-runner ahead of Amara Essy of Ivory Coast.

In a first straw ballot, Mr Annan, the UN Under Secretary General for Peace-Keeping, garnered 10 votes in his favour. Mr Essy won seven favourable votes with two permanent members against. There will be further voting this morning. David Usborne -New York