Wednesday, August 24, 2016

On Next SG, Luksic Drops Out, NZ To Serve Powers To Russia With Breakfast?

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, August 23 -- In the run-up to the third straw poll for Next UN Secretary General on August 29, New Zealand which will be president of the Council in September announced it will cede Next SG powers to Russia, which will also hold the Council presidency in October.

On August 23 Inner City Press asked August's Council President, Ramlan Bin Ibrahim of Malaysia, to explain this; he said to wait for “the breakfast,” on September 1, for it to be formally presented.

   Meanwhile another candidate has dropped out: Igor Luksic of Montenegro. His letter is here. Along with Vuk Jeremic of neighboring Serbia, he was once of the younger and more articulate of the candidates (including answering the Press on his budget), but the votes weren't there. We'd say, Maybe next time - but if you believe in regional rotation, as Luksic says he does, that's probably it in terms of UNSG.

  As noted, Susana Malcorra met with the European Union in New York And more recently met with Angola); Christalina Figueres was in Mali. As we've asked all candidates, who is paying for that trip? Last week the Lancet inquired how the race may impact global health; watch this site.

The third straw poll for Next UN Secretary General is now set for Monday, August 29, UN Security Council president Malaysia told the press on August 12. It will still not involved color ballots which would allow one ot know if a candidate's discourages involve permanent, veto-holding members. Periscope video here.

The second poll happened on August 5, leaving frontrunner Antonio Guterres now with two discourages. Inner City Press' Periscope video here.  Second round, compared to previous:

Antonio Guterres: 11-2-2 (prev 12-0-3: one encourager left, P5 discourager(s) came out)

Vuk Jeremic: 8-4-3  (prev 9-5-1: one less encourage, one less discourage, no opinion grows)

Susana Malcorra: 8-6-1 (prev 7-4-4: one more encourage, but two more discourage)

Danilo Turk: 7-5-3 (prev 11-2-2: four encouragers leave, three more discourage: ouch)

Irina Bokova: 7-7-1 (prev 9-4-2: two less encourage, three more discourage)

Srgjan Kerim 6-7-2 (prev 9-5-1: three less encourage, two more discourage)

Helen Clark: 6-8-1 (prev 8-5-2: two less encourage, three more discourage)

Then with no comparison for discretion and feelings, Christiana Figueres 5-8-2), Natalia Gherman (3-10-2), Luksic, Lajcak - could there be a replacement?

The Security Council's decision sources tell Inner City Press may well not come until October, when Russia holds the monthly presidency of the Council.

   While Antonio Gutteres led in the first round, sources tell Inner City Press not only of P5 in his “no opinions” but also of the idea floated of Guterres as a Deputy Secretary General, along the lines of today's Jan Eliasson. There's been outreach to Bulgaria. Inner City Press again hearkens back to Ban Ki-moon rejecting Guterres' request for a mere one year extension at UNHCR. Is it pay-back time?

   On that front, while FYROM's Srgjan Kerim did better than expected in the first round, now there are detractors pointing back to a scandal while he was President of the General Assembly, in which his driver was found with big time (but not Iran-sized) cash, 750,000 euro, on the Hungarian border. Inner City Press reported it at the time, and has been multiply contacted since.

   On the issue of dual nationality, first reported by Inner City Press, outgoing Council member Spain is said to have two stealth nationals in the race (and, as reported, a desire to keep an Under Secretary General spot despite what its Cristina Gallach has mis-done with the Department of Public Information: perhaps Disarmament this time).  Which other Council members are asking for high posts from candidates? Watch this site.

And then there were eleven, running for Next Secretary General of the UN. Former Croatian foreign minister Vesna Pusic on August 4 dropped out, saying the results of the first straw poll show that the Security Council members want an insider.

   This comes after the anticipated expansion of the field to 13 with Kevin Rudd did NOT happen; Rudd was Turnbulled. But there are still others out there. And the issue of dual citizenship, involving Spain, is still in the mix. The second straw poll is set for August 5 and Inner City Press, barring further censorship by Ban Ki-moon and Spain's highest UN official Cristina Gallach, will be there.

As the UN Security Council on July 21 held its first closed-door straw poll on the 12 current candidates to replace Ban Ki-moon as UN Secretary General, Inner City Press asked UK Ambassador Matthew Rycroft if it was too late for Australia's Kevin Rudd or others to get into the race. Video here. Rycroft replied that it is not too late, candidates can enter after the first straw poll pursuant to the Council's earlier letter.

Inner City Press understands that some Security Council members are reaching out to still unannounced candidates beyond the current 12 and Rudd. Meanwhile, Council sources indicate that among ostensible frontrunner Gutteres' three “no opinions,” a Permanent Five member's veto waits. Inner City Press is told France supports Irina Bokova, but there is opposition within the other P3.

So the real politik frontrunners: Danilo Turk and Helen Clark, in this view. But others may loom.

   On the dual nationality front, we immediately report that Vuk Jeremic approached Inner City Press on July 28 to deny what some Council sources floated about his dual nationality. Jeremic states he is Serbian, only Serbian. Noted duly, and immediately.

  Inner City Press asked Ukraine's Ambassador if the issue of Crimea arose in the Council's interviews. He responded that a candidate's position on it will determine Ukraine's support. And obverse, of course, is also true. We'll have more on this. The second straw poll is set for August 5.

Below from multiple sources are the results of the first straw poll; Inner City Press can also exclusively report that questions have arisen about dual nationality of some candidates, including Christiana Figueres and Susana Malcorra (Italy / Spain),  beyond their listed countries which nominated them. It should be noted that the UN's “PHP” forms require such disclosures.

On July 25, Ukraine's Permanent Representative to the UN emerged from a closed door consultation of the Security Council and told the press that the second straw poll, which had been scheduled for July 29, would not be held then, but instead in the first week of August. Asked if he wouldn't be on vacation, he said no. And the others? Or, les autres?

After Ukraine said no second straw poll this week, Malaysia's Ambassador when asked said, No final decision. So does the Eastern Europe Group want a delay, to regroup?

Kevin Rudd continues to push to get into the race, and Susana Malcorra has complained of the results being leaked. There's talk of “strategic voting” -- which Permanent Five members were among the three “no opinions” on Gutteres? How could a country have no opinion of the long time UNHCR chief?

From multiple sources, results of the first straw poll, in the format of Encourage - Discourage - No Opinion:

Antonio Guterres: 12-0-3
Danilo Turk: 11-2-2
Irina Bokova: 9-4-2
Srgjan Kerim 9-5-1
Vuk Jeremic: 9-5-1;
Helen Clark: 8-5-2
Miroslav Lajcak: 7-3-5
Susanna Malcorra: 7-4-4
Christiana Figueres: 5-5-5
Natalia Gherman: 4-4-7
Igor Luksic: 3-7-5
Vesna Pusic: 2-11-2

After the straw polling, Ambassadors said no comment and it went well; Council President Koro Bessho said much the same on UNTV. Inner City Press asked him if the actual results had been given to the President of the General Assembly. Bessho began to say yes, then clarified, no.

At least he took Press questions. The candiates most recently appeared in an event for which the UN did not even provide a UNTV camera at the stakeout so these qustions culd be asked. Inner City Press wasBanned from streaming Periscope from the exit of the General Assembly hall after the event.