It is election day at the International Maritime Organization. This is when the 40 IMO Council members will vote to decide who will replace Koji Sekimizu as secretary-general at the end of the year.
Voting is In-Camera. Any Council meeting participants that are not secretariat or member representatives are asked to leave the room.
The six candidates will each make speeches on their merits and capabilities before the non-governmental organisations and others are asked to leave the room. The first ballots were cast at 12:00 hrs in 2011.
Only the heads of delegations or permanent representatives will place the voting paper in the ballot box.
Voting is first past the post, so the first candidate to get more than half the votes in one round is elected. If no candidate reaches more than half the votes then the candidate that achieves the least votes is withdrawn from the election, and votes are cast again on the remaining five, four, three candidates and so on.
It is widely believed that the voting will consist of three rounds or more, with candidates eliminated each time.
Candidates that have been promised votes may find those promises are null and void after the first or second round.
No one other than the three or so representatives from a national delegation will know how they have voted in each round. In short all six candidates could have a chance of becoming the next secretary-general.
When the Council vote is over the next official step is to present the decision to the IMO Assembly, which is made up of all IMO members, for acceptance. This is a formality, and will happen when the Assembly meets in November.
Mr Sekimizu will step down as secretary-general at the end of the year with the elected candidate taking up the post as of January 1, 2016 for a four-year term.
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