Update on the election of the new UN Secretary General

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When I last posted about the selection of the next UN Secretary General, there were nine candidates for the post, now there is twelve.

Thanks to an NGO initiative, there were already several public hearings and debates of the candidates. All these seemed – and it still does! – really hopeful compared to the regular procedure of the election when the result is decided solely through diplomatic channels and behind closed doors. Read more about the appointment process here.

Since a candidate can be appointed up to one month prior to the end of the current term (which is December 31, but the new Secretary General is usually elected at the October meetings of the General Assembly), in theory it is possible that after all the attempts to make the procedure public, in the end, there will be a Secretary General whose name is not even in the hat yet.

On July 13 Al Jazeera broadcasted a television debate live from the UN General Assembly Hall, where ten of the 12 candidates answered questions of representatives of UN member states. Check out Al Jazeera’s highly informative webpage where you can watch the debate in its entirity as well.

Last week the UN Security Council held the first of several secret ballot sessions to get the first hint about who has the most chance out of the twelve candidates. According to unnamed sources the winner of the first round was Antonio Guterres of Portugal, which is kind of a surprise considering the expectations that Eastern European candidates will have the most chance, although the next four runners-up are all Eastern European.

As of this moment, all twelve candidates are still in competition and the next straw poll will take place on August 5. These sessions are really supposed to be secret, but it is highly probable there will be leaks in the future again. For the end result though, we still have to wait for about three months.

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