UNITED NATIONS: For the first time in the 70-year history of the United Nations, all the member states will get a chance to question the candidates for Secretary-General, in a move to make the usually secret selection process for the world's top diplomatic post more transparent.
Last year, the UN General Assembly responded to the strong demand from many countries that Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's successor be chosen in a more open process, unanimously adopting a resolution allowing public hearings on how candidates would respond to global crises and run the UN's far-flung bureaucracy.
The secretary-general is chosen by the 193-member General Assembly on the recommendation of the 15-member Security Council, according to the UN Charter.
In practice, this has meant that the council's five permanent members the US, Russia, China, Britain and France have veto power over the candidates. That will not change in deciding whom to recommend to succeed Ban, whose second five-year term ends on Dec 31.
But General Assembly President Mogens Lykketoft said in a recent interview that the two-hour public discussions with each of the eight current candidates, starting Tuesday, are "potentially game-changing."
If a leading candidate emerges and a critical number of countries rally around him or, in what would be a first, her "I think it will be very difficult, and probably not possible, for the Security Council to come up with quite a different candidate," he said.