UNSG Race: Where are we?

We thought that, rather than cover all the exciting news going on, we would step back and take a look at the process.

In July, the French tak the Presidency of the Security Council. The UNSC has committed to start discussing names. There are a serious of important questions about what will happen next:

  1. What names will be submitted on July 3rd? In other words, will more candidates emerge before then? Our prediction is “no”. If you believe that the current list of candidates does not contain an acceptable nominee — our position –, then the time for more names will come. If that list does contain a name that is acceptable, then that person will be the next UNSG, and the only entrance that could make a difference is “someone better”.
  2. When will the French start the straw polls? One option is that the French could begin straw polls to measure the support for the candidates in the UNSC. This will remove the non-serious candidates immediately, and leave the haggling to the serious ones. Or they could simply wait and let the candidates campaign. The UNSC has plenty of work to do.
  3. What will the candidates still in consideration do? There has been discussion that candidates will make public appearances, speak to the regional groupings, etc. Will they continue to do this during the consideration?
  4. When will new candidates throw in their names? Imagine that two non-serious candidates are knocked out in the first couple of straw poll ballots. Do more candidates throw their names in at that point?
  5. Who does the UNSC ask for new names if the initially proposed batch is unacceptable? This is actually quite an interesting question. In Kofi Annan’s selection, they went to the Organization for African Unity, which was almost the same group as the African Grouping. There is no similar regional grouping outside of the UN. Do they ask the Asian group to caucus? Or do they ask the regional groups within Asia — SAARC, SCO, ASEAN (how do you account for the Asian Arab countries?) — to submit names? Who would these nominate?

And we have not even asked questions about the General Assembly. UN watchers should be looking forward to a quite exciting July.

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