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New Director-General of the World Health Organization to be chosen in November, 2006

Today, the World Health Organization's Executive Board has decided on a November timetable for electing a new Director-General for the Organization. The decision follows the sudden death of Dr LEE Jong-wook, WHO Director-General, last Monday, 22 May.

Specifically, the Board has decided by resolution that the Board would nominate a new Director-General in a meeting from 6-8 November. This meeting would be followed by a one-day special session of the World Health Assembly on 9 November, which would vote to appoint the new Director-General.

The Acting Director-General will notify Member States that they may propose candidates from 1 June, 2006. Proposals would be accepted by the WHO Secretariat until 5 September, 2006, and the Secretariat would dispatch these to Member States by 5 October, 2006.

In a special session last Tuesday, 23 May, the Executive Board agreed that it wanted an "accelerated process" for electing a Director-General. The resolution today means that the Board has agreed to waive part of a rule which would normally allow for a six-month nomination process.

The Executive Board will meet to decide on a short-list of candidates, and to interview them from 6-8 November. Through a voting process it will nominate a candidate to propose to the World Health Assembly. The Assembly will then consider the Board's nomination on 9 November and appoint a Director-General. It would also decide when a contract for the new Director-General would take effect.

Dr Anders Nordström will continue as the Acting Director-General of WHO until a new Director-General takes office.

The WHO Executive Board is comprised of 34 Members who are technically qualified in the field of health. The main functions of the Board are to give effect to the decisions and policies of the World Health Assembly, to advise it and generally to facilitate its work.

The countries represented on the current Executive Board are: Afghanistan, Australia, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bhutan, Bolivia, Brazil, China, Denmark, Djibouti, El Salvador, Iraq, Jamaica, Japan, Kenya, Latvia, Lesotho, Liberia, Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, Luxembourg, Madagascar, Mali, Mexico, Namibia, Portugal, Romania, Rwanda, Singapore, Slovenia, Sri Lanka, Tonga, Thailand, Turkey and the United States of America.

For further information please contact

Christine McNab
Communications Officer
WHO, Geneva
Теl.: +41 22 791 4688
Mobile: +41 254 6815

Iain Simpson
Communications Officer
WHO, Geneva
Теl.: +41 22 791 3215
Mobile: +41 475 5534