Jordanian Prince Zaid Hussein joined on Tuesday the race to replace Annan whose tenure as secretary-general of the organization is set to end in less than three months.
Prince Zaid, 42, is the cousin of King Abdullah, and serves as Jordan’s ambassador to the UN. If appointed, he will be the first Muslim to become the UN secretary-general. The appointment of the secretary -general is carried out in two phases – a secret ballot phase at the Security Council, followed by an open vote in the UN General Assembly.
According to the existing regulation, with the end of the administration of Annan – who is Africa’s representative – the next candidate for the role has to come from Asia. Four candidates already applied for the position, but none of them has the required support to ensure their election.
The candidates are South Korea’s Foreign Minister Ban Ki-moon, UN Deputy Secretary-General Shashi Tharoor from India, Sri Lanka’s Jayantha Dhanapala who previously dealt with issues of disarmament in the UN, and Thailand Deputy Prime Minister Surakiart Suthirathai.
Prince Zaid decided to join the race after it became known that none of the other candidates are considered as significant contenders. Zaid himself is highly respected by his diplomatic counterparts, but even his candidacy is uncertain because of the close relations between Jordan and the United States, that the other members of the Security Council – especially Russia and China – do not view in a positive light.