The United Nations has taken a historic step allowing a more open process during the election for the next Secretary General, allowing all of the participant countries to question each one of the candidates while being broadcasted live in the U.N’s webcast site. The U.N.has described the process as a “job interview in front of the whole world.”

A “man panel” of portraits of United Nations secretaries-general, located in a hallway of the headquarters in New York. Credit: PassBlue

All of the candidates will be allowed a two-hour spot in where they will be able to present their case to the General Assembly of the U.N. Each one of the contenders will defend their beliefs and explain their cause for Secretary General.

The U.N. possesses 193 Member States, along with observers from the Holy See and the State of Palestine. The candidates will be asked questions by any of these members and observers while defending their case.

The open process comes as a response to last year’s strong demand for a more open process, the demand was made by many countries after the announcement of a new successor to Ban Ki-moon.

The U.N. has five permanent members that have veto power over the candidates, the members include countries: U.S., Russia, China, Britain and France.

According to the General Assembly President if the elections are unclear in results the Security Council of the U.N. “will have a more deciding influence”

Gender equality and possible women as Secretary General

There are 8 contenders for the spot of Secretary General, among which four of them are women. A first in the history of the U.N, which paves the way for a more gender equal organization.

The changed process adopted last year assured the need for a more gender and geographical balance. That’s why the resolution invited all of the countries to propose women as candidates.

Normally the spot for Secretary General rotates among regions and countries, but East European nations have argued they have never had a spot in the seat.

The candidates for the Secretary General spot are:

  • Irina Bokova from Bulgaria (First woman to head UNESCO)
  • Natalia Gherman from Moldova (ambassador in Europe and daughter of the first president of the country)
  • Igor Luksic from Montenegro (Youngest of all contenders with 39, current foreign minister of its country and was prime minister during 2010-2012)
  • Danilo Turk from Slovenia (One of the country’s founding fathers)
  • Helen Clark from New Zealand (former prime minister of the country for almost decade)
  • Antonio Guterres from Portugal (Ex- U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees in 2015)
  • Vesna Pusic from Croatia ( Deputy prime minister and feminist)
  • Srgjan Kerim from Macedonia (Diplomat and ex-foreign minister of his country)


Source: Time