A veteran Japanese diplomat emerged as the favorite to succeed Mohamed ElBaradei as head of the UN nuclear agency, as most agency board member nations backed him against four other candidates in an informal poll Tuesday.
Yukiya Amano received 20 votes from the International Atomic Energy Agency's 35-nation board, diplomats inside the closed meeting said.
South Africa's Abdul Sabad Minty was second with 11 votes in the nonbinding poll, while Spain's Luis Echavarri was third with four ballots, the diplomats said.
There was no support for Belgiun candidate Jean-Pol Poncelet or for Ernest Petric of Slovenia. The diplomats demanded anonymity for divulging the confidential results.