Ban Ki-moon, the man
What has happened? Ban Ki-moon formally announced his candidacy to continue to lead the United Nations. He is virtually assured of securing a second five-year term as UN chief. No other candidate has as yet even stepped forward to oppose him.
Who is this man, Ban? He is a South Korean diplomat. Ban, 66, was South Korea's foreign minister from 2004-2006 and worked hard to reduce tensions with North Korea. Ban took the helm of the world body in January 2007.
When will the new UN chief be elected? The UN Security Council and General Assembly will likely complete the re-election process later this month.
Where is he getting his support? As early as last March, Ban secured Security Council support for his candidacy from its five members: the US, Britain, China, France and Russia.
Why is he criticised? Although Ban is generally well liked, his first-term record in office has been less than brilliant. Ban cites his stance on human rights as one of his achievements. Yet human rights groups point out that the UN chief has failed to take a strong stand on abuses by China. Ban did not even bring up the case of jailed Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo during his meeting last year with President Hu Jintao. Ban has never publicly called for Liu's release, either.
How is the UN chief elected? Officially it is the General Assembly that approves a new UN chief, but the Security Council has veto power over candidates. It is the Security Council that handpicks a candidate for approval by the General Assembly.