In this Sept. 13, 2005 file photo, the flags of member nations fly outside the General Assembly building at the United Nations headquarters in New York.(AP Photo)
UNITED NATIONS, Sept. 1 (Xinhua) -- The UN Security Council will have a new round of straw poll next Friday on the 10 current candidates vying to be next UN secretary-general to succeed Ban Ki-moon on Jan. 1, the president of the council, Ambassador Gerard Jacobus van Bohemen of New Zealand, announced here Thursday.
Another round of the secret council poll will be held on Sept. 26, Bohemen said while briefing reporters here on the 15-nation council's work program for September, when New Zealand, one of the 10 non-permanent council members, holds the rotating council presidency.
However, New Zealand will hand over its responsibilities to conduct straw polls behind closed doors to Russia during its council presidency this month simply because Helen Clark, a national from the Pacific island country, is in the race for the post of the world's top diplomat, he said.
After closed consultations here Thursday afternoon, all council members also agreed to hold another round of straw poll in the first week of October, the council president said.
In the October straw poll, the five permanent council members -- Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States -- and the 10 non-permanent council members will use different colors, a system to differentiate permanent council members from non-permanent council members.
The council's first straw poll was held on July 21.
The council members cast ballots which marked by three columns --"encouraged," "discouraged," and "no opinion expressed" for each candidate.
The number of candidates has been reduced by only two since the first straw poll. Vesna Pusic of Croatia withdrew her nomination on Aug. 4, the day before the second straw poll, while Igor Luksic of Montenegro pulled out of the race on Aug. 23, diplomatic sources said.
In the previous three rounds of informal, secret straw poll, former UN High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres of Portugal maintained his lead, said the sources.
The straw poll this year is actually a secret paper balloting process, but results quickly leaked out from various diplomatic sources.
These straw polls continue until there is a majority candidate without a single veto from a permanent council member. That name is then officially transferred to the UN General Assembly, whose membership historically chooses the candidate.
This year, the 193-member General Assembly took a more active role in the selection process, aiming to make it more transparent and inclusive. For the first time in history, the candidates were asked to submit their resumes and to take part in informal briefings with the General Assembly.
It is the duty of the 15-member council to forward its recommendation for the next secretary-general to the General Assembly to vote on.
There are hopes in some quarters for a first-ever woman secretary-general as well as in others quarters for a UN chief from an Eastern Europe country. It is hoped a candidate can be chosen by November.