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Russia stands for keeping in place existing procedure of elections of UN secretary general

July 23, 2015, 3:42 UTC+3 UNITED NATIONS
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UNITED NATIONS, July 23. /TASS/. Members of the United Nations Security Council split over possible changes in the procedure of the elections of the organization’s secretary general that are due next year. The discussion was held at a closed meeting of the Security Council on that matter on Wednesday.

Great Britain said the process was to be more transparent, while Russia, the United States and China spoke in favour of the existing procedure, since any possible changes needed thorough scrutiny.

"We have the United Nations Charter, which says that the General Assembly appoints secretary general at the recommendation of the Security Council," Russia’s Permanent Representative at the United Nations Vitaly Churkin told TASS. He said there was "an overrun of proposals" which would only complicate the process of elections.

In particular, he drew attention to a proposal that all future candidates for the post were to speak before the General Assembly. "And what if there are 20 candidates? Well, if the General Assembly wants to hold a session with 20 candidates… It looks like artificial piling up. Each candidate will conduct his or her campaign as he or she wants," he said.

He said he was sure each candidate would willingly meet with regional groups, of which there are five: Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe, Latin America and Caribbean, Western Europe and other states. "It is a perfect opportunity to tell about oneself in an informal atmosphere. If it is formalized, the task of choosing the best from among possible candidates will only be more complicated," Churkin said.

He said there was nothing extraordinary in the fact that Russia and the United States had similar position on that matter. "It is not an exceptional case. We have very close positions on the Security Council reform. Such things happen," he said.

The United Kingdom’s envoy, Matthew Rycroft, insisted on changes in the existing procedure of the elections of the United Nations Secretary General, saying it was not transparent and clear enough. He said this issue was discussed at the General Assembly and called on the Security Council to look at it more closely. He said the Security Council would continue discussions on that subject, probably in October, when Spain takes over presidency in the Security Council.

The Current Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, who took his office on January 1, 2007, is to leave the post on December 31, 2016 when his second term expires. Under the current rules, he cannot run for a third five-year office term. The election campaign will officially start in a year. Notably, it has been agreed not to elect to this post representatives from either of the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, namely Russia, China, Great Britain, the United States and France, to ensure the secretary general’s maximum objectiveness.

In the meantime, none of the eight secretaries general has ever represented Eastern Europe. More to it, all of them were men. With this in mind, many analysts forecast good chances for election to Irina Bokova of Bulgaria, who is now UNESCO Director General. In May, the United Nations secretariat said Ban Ki-moon supported the idea of electing a woman as his successor.

Under the existing procedure, a candidate is to be recommended by the United Nations Security Council to be approved by at least two thirds of the 193 member states at the General Assembly.

Several months ago, a special U.N. commission of 27 member states initiated changes to this process. In particular, they suggest a procedure of official presentation of candidates by introduced and a deadline for application submission be fixed.

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