The United Nations Security Council is set to begin the selection process for a new Secretary-General next week when it holds the first informal poll on candidates in the fray, including India's nominee Shashi Tharoor.
The "straw" poll will enable the Council to determine the support each candidate enjoys among its members but would not necessarily force any one to withdraw from the contest.
The process of finding a new incumbent to take over from Kofi Annan when he retires at the end of year is expected to be completed by October.
Besides, Tharoor, others in the field currently are Jayantha Dhanapala of Sri Lanka, Surakiart Sathirathai of Thailand and South Korean foreign minister Ban Ki-moon who was nominated last week.
Diplomats said in the first of several straw polls, Council members will be given three choices - "encourage", "discourage" and "no opinion".
The 15 members will cast votes for each candidate separately and the result would be made known to the Ambassadors of the countries which have nominated the candidates.
The first straw poll would not make any distinction between permanent and non permanent members as each will be given similar ballot.
But at a later stage when the opinions start crystallizing, the veto wielding five permanent members would be either given ballot of different colour from those to non permanent members or asked to use different ink for marking the paper.
Meanwhile, the developing nations' proposal to give more say to the General Assembly in the selection of the next chief executive seems to have no takers.
The permanent five members including the United States, Britain, Russia, France and China have virtually rejected the suggestion that the 15-member Council send a slate of three candidates and let the 192-member General Assembly take the final decision.
Till date, the Assembly has been "rubber stamping" the choice of the Council and diplomats do not expect any change in it.