SLOVAK candidates may vie for the post of UN secretary general in three years’ time.
Current Foreign Minister Miroslav Lajčák and Ján Kubiš, who held the same post in 2006-2008, have both been mentioned as potential candidates in the election for the top UN post, which is expected to take place in the autumn of 2016, after the term of current UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon expires.
Slovak diplomats show interest
Lajčák has reportedly discussed his potential candidacy in unofficial talks with politicians and foreign diplomats, including the representatives of the US Embassy to Slovakia. It is, however, premature to discuss the election now, the Foreign Affairs Ministry’s press office responded to inquiries of The Slovak Spectator.
“In any case it is positive that the names of Slovak candidates have been mentioned in wider expert circles,” the ministry wrote, adding that the minister is currently focusing on “fulfilling, professionally and responsibly, the tasks of the head of Slovak diplomacy”, which he wants to continue doing until the end of his term.
The term of the government of Robert Fico ends in the spring of 2016.
Another Slovak diplomat, Ján Kubiš, who currently serves as the Head of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), might be considered for the post too.
Regional rotation favours Eastern Europe
The candidate to take up the UN top post is elected by the General Assembly at the recommendation of the Security Council, which usually recommends one candidate only.
The candidate must then receive at least two-thirds of the vote in the assembly. The secretary general’s term in office is five years, with the possibility of one reappointment.
The standing members of the Security Council – the USA, Russia, the UK, France and China – have a decisive word in the council, and thus have the greatest influence on the appointment, the Sme daily wrote, adding that Lajčák and Kubiš are both experienced diplomats with a rich professional history and, thus, could be able to win the support of these big countries, especially the USA and Russia.
The unwritten rule of regional rotation also works in favour of candidates from Eastern Europe, since it is the only regional grouping of countries that has not yet had a secretary general. There has already been at least one secretary general from Western Europe, Asia, Latin America and the Carribean, and Africa.
Richard Gowan, an analyst of the World Politics Review journal, wrote back in April 2013 that the Eastern European group might nominate the next secretary general, and mentioned, in addition to Lajčák and Kubiš, UNESCO Director General Irina Bokova from Bulgaria and former Slovene prime minister Danilo Türk, Sme wrote.