The hearings of the eight candidates for the position of the next UN Secretary General began at the organization’s headquarters in New York yesterday (12 April). Seven of the candidates are from Europe, more specifically six of them come from Eastern Europe, a region that has not yet produced a boss of the United Nations. The second term of the incumbent Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, ends at the end of this year. The “campaign” for the prestigious position begins with an “informal dialogue” with each candidate.
The United Nations makes an effort to make the current race for the position more transparent. Representatives of the UN Member States will be able to ask questions to the candidates on a first-come-first-serve basis. If there is still time at the end of the two-hour session, the candidate will answer questions from civil society groups. Moreover, the eight candidates will also speak to the media.
The UN Charter of 1945, the foundation of the organization, does not precisely specify how a Secretary-General is to be selected, aside from Article 97, which notes that the candidate “shall be appointed by the General Assembly upon the recommendation of the Security Council.” Morgens Lykketoft, the Danish President of the General Assembly, however, said that the ideal candidate would have the “contact with the global public opinion and authority to call to the major and minor powers, particularly in the Security Council, to act timely”.
The eight candidates include Montenegro’s Foreign Minister, Igor Lukši?, UNESCO’s boss, Irina Bokova, from Bulgaria, former President of Slovenia, Danilo Türk, Croatia’s Vesna Pusi?, Deputy Speaker of the Croatian Parliament, Moldova’s Natalia Gherman, who served as Minister of Foreign Affairs and European Integration and Deputy Prime Minister from May 2013 to January 2016. Moreover, the shortlist of eight candidates includes also New Zealand’s Helen Clark, Prime Minister of New Zealand from 1999 to 2008, and Macedonia’s Srgjan Kerim, former Foreign Minister and President of the 62nd Session of the United Nations General Assembly (2007-2008).