UN Chief Candidates Hold Debate

UN Chief Candidates Hold DebateUN Chief Candidates Hold Debate

Ten of the 12 candidates vying to be the next United Nations secretary-general took part in live televised debates on Tuesday, a first for the world body, but attempts to bring unprecedented transparency to the race will not extend to the Security Council selection process.

The 193-member UN General Assembly has sought to lift a veil of secrecy that has surrounded the election of the UN chief for the past 70 years by requiring public nominations and holding campaign-style town hall events with each candidate, Reuters reported.

That transparency extended to two debates-with five candidates in each group-in the General Assembly on Tuesday, which was broadcast live around the world on the Al Jazeera television network and on the UN website.

Candidates were pressed by the Al Jazeera hosts and took questions from the audience, on issues such as leadership style, climate change, the International Criminal Court, the civil war in Syria and the recent eruption of fighting in South Sudan where UN peacekeepers are struggling to protect civilians.

However, when the 15-member Security Council starts holding informal secret ballots next week to choose a candidate to recommend to the General Assembly for election later this year, the results of those closed-door polls will not be made public.