UN goes back to se­cret vote for top job

The Myanmar Times - - World -

AF­TER months of pub­lic cam­paign­ing, de­bates and open hear­ings, Se­cu­rity Coun­cil am­bas­sadors hud­dle be­hind closed doors to­day to be­gin se­cret vot­ing for a new sec­re­tary gen­eral to lead the world body.

The 15 coun­cil mem­bers in­clud­ing the pow­er­ful per­ma­nent five – Bri­tain, China, France, Rus­sia and the United States – will each rate the 12 can­di­dates run­ning for the top job with a bal­lot marked “en­cour­age”, “dis­cour­age” or “no opin­ion”.

The re­sults of the first round of straw polls will not be an­nounced, but they will be com­mu­ni­cated to the gov­ern­ments that have put for­ward can­di­dates to re­place Ban Ki-moon in Jan­uary.

Among the top con­tenders are Ar­gentina’s For­eign Min­is­ter Su­sana Mal­corra, Slove­nia’s ex-pres­i­dent Danilo Turk, New Zealand’s ex-prime min­is­ter He­len Clark, and An­to­nio Guter­res, who served as Por­tu­gal’s prime min­is­ter and headed the United Na­tions refugee agency.

Six of the 12 can­di­dates are women. The bulk of the con­tenders – eight – are from eastern Europe.

The se­cret vote fol­lows a new, more open process that for the first time in the UN’s his­tory pro­vided for hear­ings to al­low can­di­dates to present their pitch for the top job be­fore the Gen­eral Assem­bly.

UN mem­ber states have com­plained for years that the sec­re­tary gen­eral is cho­sen not for his or her abil­ity to lead the world body but to serve the per­ma­nent five mem­bers.

One of the most en­er­getic cam­paign­ers in the race, Ms Clark said the new trans­parency had al­lowed “a dif­fer­ent type of can­di­date” to emerge, with less em­pha­sis on diplo­matic back­ground.

“This process has thrown up more per­sonal lead­er­ship ex­pe­ri­ence and pre­sen­ta­tion ex­pe­ri­ence,” Ms Clark said ahead of the vote.

Photo: AFP

Ban Ki-moon will va­cate the UN top post in Jan­uary.

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