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Ban Ki-Moon On Firm Footing Toward Second Term As UN Chief

A shoe-in?
A shoe-in?
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon now appears to enjoy nods of support from all five permanent members of the Security Council, who will later in the year decide whether to recommend him for another five-year term. Ban’s current mandate expires on December 31.

Technically, all members of the council, not only the five permanent members, make recommendations to the General Assembly on the election of the secretary-general. But it’s been established that no candidate will be put forward if even one permanent member is in opposition.

Ban may not possess the flamboyance and popularity of his predecessor, Kofi Annan, but he has proven himself to be a savvy negotiator. Lately, he has also taken a more decisive approach toward conflict situations. In the presidential standoff in Ivory Coast, for example, Ban has taken a hard line toward sitting President Laurent Gbagbo, who has refused to recognize the results of the election in November and is now bringing the country to the brink of another civil war.

In 2010, Ban seemed to have displeased Washington and other Western powers with his muted position on human rights -- notably, his refusal to condemn the Chinese government for its crackdown on dissidents. But these frictions, if they were ever in place, now seem to be history. With his adaptability and solid skills as a mediator, Ban at this point seems to be an acceptable choice for almost anyone of influence at the UN.

Even Russia, which was reportedly angered over Ban’s alleged siding with the West over Kosovo's secession in 2008, is now at peace with him for another term.

Ban has yet to formally announce that he will run for a second term, but this is considered a technicality. He may announce his bid for reelection in the next two months. The 69-year-old Korean diplomat is expected to be endorsed by the Asia Group at the UN, made up of all Asian and Middle Eastern member states.

At some point in the fall, the Security Council has to make its recommendation to the 192-member General Assembly. There has not been a case in the UN’s 66-year history when a candidate recommended by the Security Council has not been elected by the General Assembly.

-- Nikola Krastev

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