Beijing envoy confident China's candidate will be picked to lead global health body Former Hong Kong director of health Margaret Chan Fung Fu-chun has topped the shortlist of candidates vying to become head of the World Health Organisation - securing the most votes in a tight race. The shortlist of five was announced late last night (Hong Kong time) after six rounds of secret ballots over more than two hours. Although the number of votes secured by each candidate was not announced, sources who were at the meeting said the tally was as follows: Dr Chan, 32 votes, Japan's Shigeru Omi, 31; Mexico's Julio Frenk, 30; and Kuwait's Kazem Behbehani and Spain's Elena Salgado, 28 votes each. China's ambassador to the UN Geneva office, Sha Zukang , said after the vote: 'We are happy of course. She had been leading the rounds of election. Obviously she is a very qualified candidate.' Mr Sha thanked member states for their support and expressed confidence that Dr Chan would be elected WHO director-general. 'If elected she would be the best in the history of WHO,' he said. 'I am not a fortune-teller but I am pretty confident and hope board members will cast their vote for Margaret Chan as they have done today.' Dr Chan could not be reached for comment last night. Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen, who is visiting Belgium, said he was confident Dr Chan would win. The Hong Kong government, like the central government, would continue to offer support. The shortlisted candidates will today each face an hour-long interview with the WHO's 34-member executive board, first to present their manifesto and vision for the global health body and then to answer questions. Final voting will be held tomorrow, with the board's nominee put to the 193-member World Health Assembly on Thursday for endorsement. Yesterday's shortlist was derived through a series of elimination ballots. In each round of voting, the candidate or candidates receiving the lowest number of votes, and any who did not receive at least 10 per cent of the ballots cast, were eliminated until only five remained. Of the original 11 candidates vying to succeed Lee Jong-wook of South Korea, who died in May with two years left of a five-year term, two had withdrawn before the elections. The first to be eliminated was Myanmar's Nay Htun. Next to go, in order, were Iceland's David Gunnarsson, France's Bernard Kouchner, Finland's Pekka Puska, Mozambique's Pascoal Mocumbi, and Turkey's Tomris Turmen. Dr Omi, who came a close second in yesterday's vote, called the result an excellent first step. 'But there is still lots of work to be done. I will be doing my best to show that I am the best qualified of the five on the shortlist,' he said. Dr Behbehani said he was now confident as he had made it to the shortlist. '[I] look forward to Wednesday's election.' Dr Behbehani and Ms Salgado were surprise inclusions in the final five as they had not been expected to make a strong showing. Doctors Chan, Omi and Frenk had been expected to make it to the shortlist.