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UN top job hopefuls to hold live debate for first time

Sunday July 10, 2016

The first internationally-televised live debate between UN Secretary-General candidates begins July 12 at 18:00 EST.


UN General Assembly Hall [Sorin Furcoi/Al Jazeera]

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Candidates for the United Nation's top job will for the first time in the organisation's history hold a live debate, which will be broadcast live to audiences worldwide on television and digital platforms.

Tuesday's debate, to be carried by the Al Jazeera Media Network, will also allow UN member states and the people they represent to question the hopefuls for the Secretary-General post.

The current UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, steps down at the end of the year after two five-year terms.

"Worldwide audiences will be able to watch, listen and follow the UN Town Hall Debate outlining candidates’ visions on the future impact of the UN on the lives of seven billion people in the countries it represents," said Abdulla Al Najjar, Al Jazeera's executive director of Global Brand and Communications.

"The candidates for this crucial role will discuss the issues that are having devastating effects around the world from civil wars and terrorism to refugees fleeing their homes, catastrophic climate change, and ecological disasters among many others."

Former New Zealand prime minister Helen Clark, former Portugal prime minister Antonio Guterres, former Serbian Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremic and former Slovenian President Danilo Turk are among the leading candidates.

Secretary-Generals have always been chosen behind closed doors by the Security Council before being rubber-stamped by the General Assembly. That will also be the case this time but the contest marks the first time candidates have been publicly nominated.

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