With a UK veto looming on all current Eastern European candidates to take over as UN Secretary General, the region might have to put forward new names, Politico says in a recent report.
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A “whispering campaign” suggests Kristalina Georgieva of Bulgaria, “another high-profile Eastern European popular in London, Brussels and Washington”, could possibly enter the race.
Bulgaria nominated UNESCO Director General Irina Bokova for the office (under the new rules, a country can only nominate one person), following months of speculation it was finding it difficult to choose between Bokova and Georgieva, the current EU Commission Vice President for Budget and Human Resources.
The United Kingdom’s ambassador to the UN is quoted as telling a meeting of EU ambassadors last month that new candidates will have to appear if Eastern Europe is serious about wanting to finally producing a UN top job candidate.
Politico also notes that Helen Clarke, who runs the UN Development Program, and the UN’s High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres “were widely seen as outperforming the seven Eastern European candidates” at the public hearings held last month.
With new candidates from other regions such as Argentina expected to “jump into the fray” soon, Eastern Europe could also see new names enter the race, with Slovakian Foreign Minister Miroslav Lajčák also expected to run.
“An initial crop of candidates from that part of the Continent failed to impress in the early stages of the year-long campaign, say diplomats and UN observers,” Politico notes.
“Getting Georgieva into the race would either require Bulgaria to revoke Bokova’s nomination — or for another country to nominate her, which is allowed.”
A Sunday Times article published in February hinted that Britain might endorse her to counter Bokova’s nomination.
Separately, several countries “have reached out to Georgieva’s intermediaries” including the Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania, and Albania, while the UK for its part is “a big fan” of her, according to Politico.
For a long time, Bokova was seen as a “frontrunner” to get the UN top job and take over from Ban Ki-moon next year.
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