Germany is nominating the current director-general of the World Health Organization (WHO), Ethiopian Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, for a second term, paving the way for his likely re-election, the German Health Ministry said Wednesday.
“Germany nominates Tedros for another term,” a German ministry spokesman said. Official support from a country is required to be a candidate, and Dr Tedros, who has been in office since 2017, is expected to be the only one seeking the leadership of the WHO.
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus had become in 2017 the first African to head this powerful UN agency, in the front line since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The diplomat has not yet officially announced that he is running for a second five-year term, but diplomatic sources said he is a candidate. While he should have the support of many WHO members, his candidacy has been complicated by the withdrawal of Ethiopia’s support for him because of the conflict in his native Tigray.
Candidates for the leadership of the UN body are usually nominated by their home country, but this is not a requirement. Most observers had predicted that official support would come from African countries, with Germany’s announcement coming as a surprise.
WHO member States have until 6:00 p.m. (16:00 GMT) today to nominate candidates for the director-general’s post, but the names will not be officially announced until early November.
If there is more than one candidate, a first selection process will begin in January 2022 to establish a shortlist of up to five candidates. Member states will vote for the next WHO head in a secret ballot during the World Health Assembly in May.