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New UN Secretary-General may be elected for 7 years for first time — UN General Assembly

April 11, 21:13 UTC+3 UNITED NATIONS
The office term of the United Nations current Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, expires on December 31
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Mogens Lykketoft

Mogens Lykketoft

© AP Photo/Richard Drew

UNITED NATIONS, April 11. /TASS/. The next UN Secretary-General can be elected for 7 years instead of 5 years for the first time and not be eligible for reelection. President of the UN General Assembly Mogens Lykketoft has told TASS that such an opportunity is currently discussed by the UN member-countries during the secret consultations.

"This discussion was already going on during the revitalization discussion in the last session," he said. "According to him, "some countries want a single not renewable term of seven years." Lykketoft noted that "there is no provision in the charter about the term, there only an indication that he should be appointed by the General Assembly on the recommendation of the Security Council.

The General Assembly president recalled that in the past the Security Council while representing a candidate to be endorsed by the General Assembly also recommended a certain term for him. However, "in principle the General Assembly could take a different decision. There are no Charter regulations on this," Lykketoft said.

He added that during the closed-door talks countries were able to agree on making the process of electing the secretary-general more transparent and organizing the informal hearings with the candidates’ participation, which will begin later this week.

According to him, to date, the UN member-countries were unable to agree on three other key issues. "One - should there be a definite timeline or a last point of time for presenting candidates. The other one is there is no decision on the single term as many counties have asked for," he said. "It is still discussed and it could be decided upon as late as when the name or the names are presented (by the Security Council). The last question is should you ask the Security Council to bring forward more than one name that's also a pending discussion in the revitalization group in the General Assembly," Lykketoft said.

Ban Ki-moon’s term expires on December 31. He has been in office since January 1, 2007. To date, there are eight candidates for the next UN chief: UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova (Bulgaria), UN Development Program Administrator Helen Clark (New Zealand), Montenegro’s Foreign Minister Igor Luksic, former President of Slovenia Danilo Turk, Portugal’s former Prime Minister Antonio Guterres, former Foreign Minister Srgjan Kerim of Macedonia, Natalia Gherman, former Moldova’s Foreign Minister, and former Foreign Minister of Croatia Vesna Pusic. On April 12-14 they will take part in the public hearings, the first in the history of the UN.

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