South Korean Foreign Minister Ban Ki-Moon, set to be formally endorsed as UN chief Kofi Annan's successor on Monday, is the only candidate left in the race as all other contenders withdrew, a UN spokeswoman said.
All six rivals who initially threw their hats into the ring have informed the Security Council that they were withdrawing their candidacies, UN deputy spokeswoman Marie Okabe said on Friday.
The last to pull out were Indian diplomat Shashi Tharoor, the UN undersecretary general for communications and public information who finished second to Ban in informal straw polls, and former Thai Deputy Prime Minister Surakiart Sathirathai.
Earlier Latvian President Vaira Vike-Freiberga, Jordan's UN ambassador Prince Zeid al-Hussein, Afghanistan's former finance minister Ashraf Ghani and Sri Lankan diplomat Jayantha Dhanapala also withdrew.
Last week Ban, 62, won a decisive fourth straw poll in the Security Council after securing crucial backing from its five veto-wielding permanent members (Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States). He had already won three previous polls by a wide margin.
Under the UN Charter, the secretary general is elected by the 192-member General Assembly on the recommendation of the Security Council.
After its formal vote on Monday, October 9, the Security Council is widely expected to recommend that the 192-member General Assembly in turn endorse Ban to succeed Annan when the Ghanaian UN chief steps down at the end of December after 10 years in office.