Tedros set to remain World Health Organisation chief

World Health Organization Chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus is all but guaranteed a second term after a procedural vote made him the sole nominee for a leadership election in May.

The first African leader of the UN health agency said he was “very grateful for the renewed support”, after the WHO’s executive board held a secret-ballot vote on Tuesday approving his nomination as the only candidate for the post of director-general.

“I am actually lost for words,” the visibly moved WHO chief said after nearly all of the board’s 34 members, representing countries from around the world, threw their weight behind him.

He was only missing three votes: from absentees Tonga, Afghanistan and East Timor, according to a diplomatic source.

The former Ethiopian minister of health and foreign affairs is thus expected to be re-elected when all 194 WHO member states cast their ballots in May for the next director-general.

Tedros, one of the most recognisable figures of the global battle against COVID-19, acknowledged that his first five-year term had been “challenging and difficult”, and said it was a “great honour” to be given the opportunity to continue the battle.