Election (via approval voting) of UN secretary general

The Secretary-general of the United Nations is elected by a process with complicated rules, but which in practice (since the complicated exceptions rarely arise) is essentially approval voting.

The election of Ban Ki-Moon in 2006

There were 15 countries voting, with the possible votes being "approve," "disapprove," or "no-opinion" on each candidate. (But apparently the words "encourage" and "discourage" were felt to be more diplomatic than "approve" and "disapprove.") The votes were as follows (extracted from http://www.unsg.org/wordpress/archives/170). Ban's vote was 14 encouraging and 1 "no opinion." The result indicates that Ban was not opposed by any of the five permanent members (P), which is important because they have the power (if they choose to exert it) to veto anything the UN does, including if it elects somebody Secretary General. All five remaining candidates received at least one discouraging vote from permanent member(s):

Candidate Encourage Discourage No opinion
Ban 1401
Tharoor 103(1P)2
Vike-Freiberg 56(2P)4
Surakiar 47(2P)4
Ghani 411(3P)0
Zeid 28(1P)5
Total 39+35+16=90=6×15 scores for the 6 candidates from the 15 voters. The average number of approvals per ballot was 2.6=39/15.

Ban's election was then "confirmed" by the full General Assembly. [The setup is rather similar to the election (basically by 3-level range voting) of the Doge in Renaissance Venice, followed by his confirmation (or, in theory, rejection) by the assembly of the people.]

Incidentally, Donald Saari raised the fear that approval voting would in practice "degenerate" to plurality voting. This fear is seen, at least in this high-stakes example, to have been utter garbage.

The (preceding) election of Kofi Annan in 1996

Farhan Haq
Inter Press Service English News Wire
UNITED NATIONS, Dec. 13 (IPS) -- Kofi Annan, a career U.N.
staffer and currently head of the United Nations' peacekeeping
department, will be the world body's next secretary general, the
U.N. Security Council confirmed today.
The 15-member Council approved Annan, a Ghanaian diplomat who
is undersecretary general for peacekeeping, by a unanimous vote in
a secret "straw poll" before formally voting to recommend him to
the 185-nation General Assembly as the next U.N. chief. The
Assembly is expected to vote Dec. 16 by consensus for Annan...

List of UN secretary generals

Who Term of office Country Reason withdrew
Gladwyn JebbOct 1945 – Feb 1946United KingdomActed until Lie's election
Trygve LieFeb 1946 – Nov 1952NorwayResigned
Dag HammarskjöldApr 1953 – Sep 1961SwedenDied in plane crash
U ThantNov 1961 – Dec 1971Burma2nd term ended (did not re-run)
Kurt WaldheimJan 1972 – Dec 1981AustriaChina vetoed third term
Javier Perez de la CuellarJan 1982 – Dec 1991Peru2nd term ended (did not re-run)
Boutros Boutros-GhaliJan 1992 – Dec 1996EgyptUSA vetoed second term
Kofi AnnanJan 1997 – Dec 2006Ghana2nd term ended (did not re-run)
Ban Ki-MoonJan 2007 – ?S.Korea(still in office)

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