Jordan's Ambassador to the United Nations Prince Zeid al-Hussein has joined the race to succeed Secretary General Kofi Annan.
Hussein has thus become the first Muslim to enter the fray and posing a challenge to four others already in the field, including Indian nominee Shashi Tharoor.
Jordan on Tuesday informed the UN Security Council and the General Assembly of its decision to nominate western-educated Zeid for the post and circulated his bio-data among the press highlighting his achievements.
Besides Tharoor, the other candidates in the field are Thai Deputy Prime Minister Surakiart Sathirathai, Sri Lankan Jayantha Dhanapala and South Korean Foreign Minister Ban Ki Moon.
Diplomats said they expect more candidates to join the fray as time for final selection nears.
Jordan is in the Asian group in the United Nations and as such Zeid could be considered an Asian candidate, diplomats said.
But the reaction of major powers, especially China and Russia, was not immediately known.
Current President of the Security Council Ambassador Adamantios Vassilakis of Greece, who announced the Prince's decision to join the race, said the Council plan to hold consultation on the issue sometime in the middle of the month and a straw poll may be held later this month.
The new incumbent is expected to be selected by the Council early October.