Nearly twenty countries of the European Union proposed Thursday the candidacy of Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus to his own succession at the head of the World Health Organization, shortly before the deadline was passed.
Read also Covid: Tedros welcomes the "historic decision" of the United States to support the suspension of patents on vaccines
WHO member states had until 6 p.m. to nominate candidates.
As early as Wednesday, Germany had officially announced that it was proposing Dr Tedros, who now seems to be the only candidate in the running.
Not before October 1
If he himself has not yet formalized his candidacy, but Berlin's appeal has been heard, and nearly twenty EU countries have in turn proposed the Ethiopian's candidacy on Thursday. diplomatic sources told AFP.
Each of these countries, including Austria, Portugal, France and Spain, therefore submitted a sealed envelope to the WHO.
Read also Covid-19: French people who have received a vaccine approved by the WHO can validate their health pass
These envelopes will not be opened before October 1 by the WHO.
Then, a few weeks later, the list of candidates will be sent to WHO Member States, before being made public.
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus had become in 2017 the first African to take the head of this powerful UN agency, on the front line since the start of the pandemic, making him one of the most familiar faces in the fight against Covid -19.
Malaria specialist, graduate in immunology and doctor in community health, this former Ethiopian Minister of Health and head of diplomacy is the first WHO Director General to be elected, in 2017.
Previously, a single candidacy, proposed by the Executive Council of the UN agency, was put to the vote of the countries.
His nomination by European countries comes as a surprise, as most observers predicted that official support would come from African countries.
If he were to receive the support of many WHO members, Ethiopia withdrew its support because of the conflict in the Tigray region, where he is from.
The WHO chief has drawn the ire of the Addis Ababa government by repeatedly using the WHO platform to condemn the crackdown in his home region.
If there is more than one candidate, a selection process will begin in January 2022 to establish a shortlist of up to five candidates.
Member states will vote for the next WHO chief - whose term begins August 16 - in a secret ballot during the World Health Assembly in May.