– A woman from Eastern Europe ? –
The lack of transparency surrounding the choice of the secretary-general has long been a thorn in the side of countries that do not sit on the Security Council and Non-Governmental Organisations.
“The selection of the Secretary-General in 2016 will be significantly different from the appointment of any Secretary-General since 1945,” said William Pace, a leader of the “one for seven billion” campaign of NGOs seeking to open up the selection process.
“The ability of the United States, Russia and China, and to some degree the UK and France to control a secret process in which they pick someone who they can control will be significantly challenged by the decision of the General Assembly,” said Pace.
There have been calls to name a woman to the post, which would be a first after eight men on the job. Those appeals have been welcomed by Britain.
The draft resolution specifies that governments are invited to present women as candidates to succeed Ban as of January 1, 2017.
Russian Ambassador Vitaly Churkin said this week that the next secretary-general should come from Eastern Europe and that the regional criteria should take precedence over gender.
Campaigning for the top post is already in high gear.
Among the names being floated for the top job are two Bulgarians – UNESCO chief Irina Bokova and EU budget commissioner Kristalina Georgieva – along with Croatia’s Foreign Minister Vesna Pesic.
Lithuania’s President Dalia Grybauskaite has been mentioned but it is doubtful that a candidate from the Baltics would win Russian support.
Among non-Eastern Europeans, attention has focused on former New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark, who now heads the UN Development Program, and Chile’s President Michelle Bachelet.