Archive for the ‘Process’ Category

Fallout from the Straw Poll

July 26, 2006

Well, the first straw poll has occurred. It has raised several questions and ended several questions. Let’s consider some:

Is the race over? Ban Ki-moon got 12 “encouraging” votes and one discouraging. We don’t know if that one was from Japan (highly likely) or from a P5 country. If Japan, the game is essentially over. It is unlikely that we will find a candidate with more support.

Will candidates drop out and more enter? There is a distinct possibility, which Bolton raised in his press briefing:

the various candidates consider what the votes were compared with what
they received there may now be decisions either for additional
candidates to enter the race or for one or more candidates in the race
to drop out.

But who? Sathirathai and ASEAN have been quite vocal that he will stay in the race. There has been little activity from Dhanapala. Either one of them dropping out raises the possibility of new candidates emerging. Indeed, one Australian article has characterized this as “Goh’s chance”, if only Sathirathai were to leave the race. Later, a Thai paper, reporting from the ASEAN Ministerial, reported that “The Singaporean government had informed the five permanent members of the Security Council that former prime minister Goh Chok Tong would not run for the post”. And Dhanapala’s leaving might just result in a Deva candidacy. Not to mention the other array of candidates.

What happens next? Dhanapala will regroup or drop out. Sathirathai will “campaign harder”. Ban and Shashi really have their work cut out for them. Because of Ban’s success on the first ballot, Shashi will need to resolve any of his structural problems. It is certainly possible to have a 13-2 versus 13-2 deadlock or somesuch, requiring other candidates to emerge. Finally, new information could emerge. We still have strong concerns about Ban, which may yet come to the fore.

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The Debate on Deva and the Goh-Deva Strategy

July 21, 2006

There is a quite amusing debate emerging on the candidacy of Niranjan Deva-Aditya over at UNSG. Apparently one of Deva’s Sri Lankan supporters put up an over-enthusiastic website in Sri Lanka, getting some of the details wrong. UNSG pointed out some of these flaws. The Deva campaign clarified.

The interesting questions are, of course:

First, will Deva get nominated? The press release posted on UNSG seems to suggest that they think it is a real possibility. There was also a recent article in the gossip section of a British magazine lists specific countries who support him. What to make of this? Of course, without a formal nomination, from Sri Lanka or another country, it is impossible for him to be a candidate.

Second, Mr. Fleming, over at UNSG argues that there is a “long shot” way for Deva to emerge as a candidate:

“Deva does have one (long) shot. If the straw polls to be taken this month reveal low support for Dhanapala, …”

This is, of course, also the Goh strategy vis-a-vis ASEAN. It goes like this:

  1. The first straw poll happens. Sathirathai’s support is vanishingly small. (as our sources in New York indicate is the case)
  2. ASEAN tries to push Sathirathai out and submits Goh’s name. If that fails, supporters in other countries do this anyways.
  3. At this point, the debate is reconfigured and real compromise can take place.

For this to work for Deva, Dhanapala will have to fail on the first straw poll, which we fully expect. If Dhanapala is taken seriously a week from now, then Deva would have little basis for continuing.

The lesson here in these strategies is that this is a marathon, not a sprint. It is our analysis that the Goh-Deva strategy is viable and that none of the 4 currently nominated candidates will have job on Secretary General on January 1st. But we could be proven wrong next week when the first straw poll happens.

More Process information

July 7, 2006

Security Council Report has a very helpful analysis of the memo circulated by the Security Council on the appointment straw poll process. We believe that the most important points are:

First, the Council seems to have decided to proceed cautiously. Rather than setting out a fully defined set of guidelines, it seems to be leaving open the possibility of successive refinements of the process, as events unfold.

Secondly, the Council has established a clear requirement for nomination of candidates. Candidates will only be considered for inclusion in the “straw ballot” if the name of the candidate has been presented to the President of the Security Council by a Member State. (It is understood that at time of writing three of the four announced candidates have been so nominated)

Fourthly, at this stage the straw ballots will not differentiate between permanent members and elected members. Accordingly, the impact of the veto will remain veiled.

Fifthly, there is nothing in the note from the President of the Security Council which suggests that the field will be limited to the candidates whose names are in the first straw poll.  It seems that it will be possible for additional candidates to be nominated.  This is another matter which seems to be deliberately left open.

Several thoughts occur to us in response to this analysis. They are proceeding cautiously. This is not surprising because there is no guarantee that the current list of formally announced candidates contains someone who will garner the support of the UNSC.

We find it interesting that vetos will be hidden this time. Surely this is an attempt to emphasize equity in the process, at least initially? And surely the P5 are talking? The interesting question is what they do when they get 8 or 10 votes, which would be enough if there is no veto. When do they convert to a process that uses vetos?

Lastly, there are two things in the report that pick out particular candidates. First, Shashi, Dhanapala, and Sathirathai have all been officially nominated. Ban Ki-moon has not. Is he not running any more? If not, what happens to Egyptian support? Egypt is important in both the Arabic world and in Africa.

Second, this makes Deva’s nominations, so far, invalid. What will he do about that?

UNSG Race: Where are we?

June 27, 2006

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.