UN chief Ban Ki-moon wants second term

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Indy Politics

The worst kept secret at the United Nations is that Ban Ki-moon wants a second term as secretary-general and will almost certainly get it, possibly this month.

As he travels the world, working behind the scenes and publicly to help defuse crises and push for action on issues like climate change and women's rights, Mr Ban has also been quietly lobbying for support from the 192 UN member states for a second five-year term.

Egypt's UN Ambassador Maged Abdelaziz, whose country heads the 120-member Nonaligned Movement of mainly developing countries and China, said last month that he knew of no opposition to Mr Ban.

"And my feeling is among the countries of the Nonaligned (Movement) that all of us are in support of his election," he said.

UN diplomats said the South Korean is expected to announce his candidacy for a second term at a news conference today.

Mr Ban has scheduled the news conference to discuss his recent travels to Ivory Coast for the president's inauguration; Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, for the African Union summit; as well as to Nigeria, France and Italy.

Mr Ban's spokesperson would not confirm that the UN chief planned to announce that he is seeking a second-term.

"During the past four-and-a-half years, the Secretary-General has been working hard to address multiple global challenges, with a strong sense of commitment and mission," said spokesperson Martin Nesirky. "He believes that when the appropriate time comes, he will be able to express his views about his future."

Once Mr Ban makes an announcement, the UN Security Council must give a positive recommendation, which it would do in a resolution that needs at least nine "yes" votes and no veto by a permanent member - the US, Britain, France, Russia and China.

The General Assembly would then elect Mr Ban for a second term starting January 1, 2012, probably by acclamation.

Mr Ban's re-election could be wrapped up by the end of June.

The UN chief won endorsements from two former US ambassadors who served during George W. Bush's presidency - John Bolton and Zalmay Khalilzad.

"I think by UN standards he deserves a second term," Mr Bolton, a conservative and frequent UN critic, said.

"I think he has avoided the principal problem of his predecessor which is he has not concluded he is the secular pope. And I think that anyone who has resisted that for five years in the UN bureaucracy can be counted on to resist it for another five years."