Vesna Pusić.jpg
Photograph: HINA / Darko VLAHOVIĆ

Croatia officially nominated its foreign minister, Vesna Pusic, for the post of UN secretary general, becoming the first country to put forward a woman for the post that has always been held by a man, according to a letter seen by dpa Friday.

In the letter addressed to the UN General Assembly and the UN Security Council that was forwarded to UN member states Thursday, Croatian Prime Minister Zoran Milanovic nominated Pusic, who also serves as Croatia's first deputy prime minister.

"Ms Pusic has a distinguished national and international career, both as a politician and a member of the academia, which makes her completely suited for assuming this position of global leadership and responsibility," Milanovic wrote.

Pusic is the second candidate to be officially nominated for the post. Macedonia has put forth diplomat and businessman Srgjan Kerim.

The current process is the first to use open nominations. Until now secretive negotiations resulted in the UN chief being elected by the five veto-wielding powers of the Security Council.

Countries have called for a more transparent and democratic election process to find a successor to Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, whose second term comes to an end in 2016. Many have also expressed hope that a woman could hold the top post of the organization after eight male secretaries general.

Pusic has been a member of the Croatian Parliament since 2000 and has also taught sociology and political theory at the University of Zagreb.

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