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Margaret Chan Is Nominated as the Only Candidate to the Director-General of the WHO


The Executive Board of the World Health Organization (WHO) nominated Margaret Chan, the candidate proposed by the Chinese government, as the next Director-General of the WHO on November 8, 2006, succeeding Dr Lee Jong-wook, the WHO Director-General who died from illness on May 22, 2006.

On that day, the WHO Executive Board composed of 34 members conducted secret voting on the 5 candidates to the post of Director-General. Minister of Health Elena Salgado proposed by Spain and Dr Kazem Behbehani recommended by Kuwait were first eliminated, and then was Japan's Shigeru Omi, the former WHO Regional Director for the Western Pacific. In the final round of voting, Margaret Chan, the candidate from the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR) of China won 24 votes and Minister of Health Julio Frenk recommended by Mexico won 10 votes. With over half of the votes, Margaret Chan became the only candidate to the new Director-General.

The World Health Assembly will make deliberation on and approve through voting the nomination of Margaret Chan at its special meeting on November 9.

Following the election procedure of the WHO Director-General, the Executive Board confirmed the nomination of the candidates to the next Director-General on November 6 and conducted an 1-hour interview with each of them the next day, asking them to elaborate views on the current priorities of the WHO and their administrative programs respectively and answer questions.

China's candidate Margaret Chan is 59 years old. She was previously WHO Assistant Director-General and Director of Health of the Hong Kong SAR. Dr Chan obtained her medical degree from the University of Western Ontario in Canada, a postgraduate degree in public health from the National University of Singapore and also a degree from the Royal College of Physicians of the UK. In 1994, she was appointed as the first female Director of Health of Hong Kong. In 2003, Dr Chan was invited to join the WHO. As the WHO Assistant Director-General for Communicable Diseases, her achievements were highly recognized by many countries.

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