BBC: To a global audience, a new UN secretary general is a “need-to-Google” figure

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According to the eminent world media, selecting a new secretary general of the United Nations may be a new scene for clashes between Americans and Russians. Find out what the chances of Montenegro’s candidate Igor Luksic are, considering the assessment of the BBC that Ban Ki-moon’s successor, whoever he was, would be a “need-to-Google” figure to a global audience.


The American magazine Time says that Luksic, 39, is one of the youngest contenders. “He is currently the foreign minister of Montenegro and was prime minster of the country from 2010-2012. His pro-NATO and pro-Western stance will not endear him to veto-holding Moscow.


On other hand, the British Guardian adds that Luksic he is one of the more literary of the candidates, having published three volumes of poetry and prose, The Book of Laughter, The Book of Fear and The Book of Doubt – all of which would come in handy in the UN top job.


In the analysis of the British Economist, it is said that Luksic, however, has little chance of being picked for the head of the UN. It even adds that his campaign is thought to be a profile-raising exercise for another international job down the line.


For the time being, Luksic has eight challengers.

Former minister of European integration in the Croatian government, Vesna Pusic, is among them.

The Guardian says that she has impeccable pro-democracy credentials. It reminds that she set up the first feminist organisation in former Yugoslavia, organised civic society meetings between Croatians and Serbians when the two countries were at war and has been a consistent advocate for LGBT rights. That activism and her generally pro-western record are likely to be an issue for Moscow, the British newspaper adds.

Former president of the UN General Assembly and a former Serbian foreign minister Vuk Jeremic is also a candidate for the UN head.

Regardless of his experience in the UN, Economist says that Jeremic made enemies in many Western capitals by campaigning against international recognition of Kosovo’s independence in 2008.

Another representative of the former Yugoslavia participates in the race.

It is Danilo Turk, a former Slovene president, whose campaign has not excited much interest, Economist says.

On the other hand, the media favour the two ladies who run the two key institutions of the UN administration. One of Bulgaria’s Irina Bokova, the head of UNESCO, and the other is Helen Clark, the head of UNDP.


According to BBC, Bokova is seen as Moscow’s preferred choice, which means the US is almost certain to block her, whereas the fact that Clark does not come from Eastern Europe, which is supposed to be entrusted managing the UN, could be an issue for the former prime minister of New Zealand.

In addition to two of them, the media note that the former prime minister of Portugal Antonio Gutierrez is seen as a strong contender due to his tenure at the UNHCR.


The media describe this European socialist as a passionate spokesman. “Perhaps too passionate for the security council P5 powers, who may fear his independent streak”, the Guardian explains.

The former deputy prime minister and foreign minister in Moldova is also a candidate for the UN secretary general. She has been an ambassador in several European capitals.

Her principal UN involvement has been helping to push its development agenda with an emphasis on human rights and gender equality. In 2014 the Guardian listed her as one of seven women to watch in global politics who are leading change all over the world. However, the long-running friction between Moldova and Russia over the breakaway region of Transnistria could mean she is blocked by Moscow.


According to the Economist, Srgjan Kerim, a former Macedonian foreign minister, is a no-hoper.

In addition to these nine candidates, officially presented in the world’s media, there is the wild card. Many diplomats would like to see German Chancellor Angela Merkel throw her giant-sized hat in the ring.

BBC says that, in this case, Merkel is “more of a general than a secretary”. It adds that Merkel is precisely the kind of big hitter that many UN watchers believe the organisation desperately needs after the more timid leadership style of Mr Ban.


BBC adds that the process of UN secretary general selection could never be described as democratic.

Under the selection procedure, the 15-member Security Council recommends a single candidate for the 193-member General Assembly to essentially rubber stamp.

Thus, the power still resides with the permanent five members of the Security Council – China, France, Russia, the UK and US – which can all veto candidates, BBC says.

The new secretary general takes office on 1 January 2017.

Source: Cafe Del Montenegro