Argentina's foreign minister Susana Malcorra confirmed that the United Nations Security Council held its first informal round of consultations among hopefuls for the UN Secretary General post, and underlined that the results of such talks are confidential, and there will be further such meetings, the first step in a long process.
Although results of the talks are confidential, I am grateful for all the support received and much value the confidence in my aspiration to occupy the post of UN Secretary General, which further commits me to continue working with my team and all member countries to reach that goal said Ms Malcorra is a brief release.
The release follow media reports that Ms Malcorra's hopes of becoming the first woman ever to lead the United Nations were hit with a damaging setback after she emerged from the first informal straw poll of Security Council members in the middle of the 12-candidate pack.
Allegedly the Argentine candidate faces a difficult task catching up to former Portuguese prime minister Antonio Guterres, who received the most votes.
While the results of the poll — in which the 15 current members of the Security Council were asked to “encourage,” “discourage” or express “no opinion” on the candidates — were meant to remain secret, details of the results leaked out shortly after voting.
Slovenian ex president Danilo Türk, who reportedly was placed second also picked up some “discourage” votes.
Diplomatic sources quoted by the Associated Press suggested that UNESCO head Irina Bokova of Bulgaria, Serbia’s former foreign minister Vuk Jeremic and former Macedonian foreign minister Srgjan Kerim were all jostling for third place, with Bokova ahead in the count.
Guterres is understood to have won 12 “encourage” votes, whereas Malcorra reportedly trailed behind with seven “encourage” votes than rivals such as UNDP Administrator Helen Clark with eight “encourage” votes and the nine that went to Bokova.
The “encourage” count may prove to be as important as the number of “discourage” votes if they happened to be cast by a permanent member of the Security Council.
Guterres was reportedly the only candidate to not receive any “discourage” votes among the contenders.
Portugal’s Foreign Minister Augusto Santo Silva called the vote “an extremely positive result, given the great quality of the other candidates,” telling the media in Washington “it gives a clear incentive to the candidature of Mr Guterres and confirms that he’s particularly qualified for the position of secretary-general.”
Guterres was UN High Commissioner for Refugees for ten years until December of 2015 and prime minister of Portugal from 1995 to-2002, representing the Socialist Party.
Türk, who served as Slovenia’s first UN ambassador from 1992-2000 and was the UN assistant secretary-general for political affairs from 2000-2005, received 11 “encourage” votes, two “discourage” and two “no opinion,” the diplomats said. Türk tweeted: “Grateful for attention, understanding and encouragement of the UN member states and civil society. Great platform for the next rounds.”
Despite the leaking of the results, General Assembly President Mogens Lykketoft wrote a strongly worded message to his counterpart Security Council President Koro Bessho lamenting that the exercise had not been made public in full. “I recognize the informal nature of the straw poll and take note that the outcome of this and future informal straw polls will not be communicated. In my view, limiting the communication to the fact that the informal straw poll has taken place without any further detail adds little value and does not live up to the expectations of the membership and the new standard of openness and transparency.”
France’s United Nations Ambassador François Delattre noted that some have compared the vote for UN secretary-general to the vote for a new pope to lead the Catholic Church.
It’s “critically important” to ensure that the process inspires trust and ensures that “we simply have the best candidate selected to become the world’s number one diplomat,” he said.
Another informal poll is expected to take place this week followed by several more in August, and possibly September.