Slovak Foreign Minister Miroslav Lajčák is still in the race for the next UN Secretary General after the first vote.
Yet he can no longer be considered a favourite in the race, although there had been hints that he could have been one, given the fact that the UN was expected to respect the unwritten rule of rotation of regions, meaning this time around it would be the turn for a candidate from central and eastern Europe to take the post.
The unofficial results of the secret vote that the UN Security Council held on July 21, however, lifted the former Portuguese PM Antonio Guterres to the top of the ranking of the 12 candidates that are running in the race. Former Slovenian president Danilo Türk and the UNESCO head Irina Bokova from Bulgaria, both representing the same region as Lajčák, placed just after Guterres in the vote.
Lajčák placed approximately in the middle of the ranking. While seven of the 15 members of the UN Security Council said they supported Lajčák, three countries said they did not support him while five said they did not have an opinion on him as a candidate, the SITA newswire reported.
“It was the first round of the indicative vote, the selection process goes on and therefore it would be premature to comment on it,” Foreign Ministry’s spokesman Peter Stano told SITA.
The second unofficial vote is expected to take place by the end of July, and more rounds are to come in the course of August or September.
The new UN Secretary General should take up the post as of January 1, 2017.
Lajčák on Deutsche Welle
Meanwhile Minister Lajčák found himself in hot water during a televised talk show of Deutsche Welle, the Conflict Zone hosted by Tim Sebastian.
Sebastian asked all the possible tough questions that Lajčák was to answer both as the foreign minister of the country that currently presides over the EU Council and a candidate for the post of the UN Secretary General, including refugee quotas and Slovakia’s resistance to them, Turkey, and sanctions against Russia.
The local media have labeled Lajčák’s performance in the show unconvincing, particularly the part about why Slovakia is reluctant to take in refugees. When Lajčák argued that refugees are an unknown for Slovaks and therefore there is fear among people in the country, Sebastian pointed to the harsh statements of Prime Minister Robert Fico against Muslims earlier this year, in the midst of the election campaign.
“Statements are made in context,” Lajčák said and pointed to the fact that Fico made his anti-Muslim statements in the context of the electoral campaign in Slovakia.
“Look what he does,” Lajčák said when asked whether people should simply ignore what Fico says.