United Nations Secretary-General selection, 2016
A United Nations Secretary-General selection was held in October 2016 to choose the ninth Secretary-General of the United Nations to succeed Ban Ki-moon from 1 January 2017. Six straw polls were held in the Security Council from 21 July 2016 to 5 October 2016. António Guterres of Portugal led the polling in every round, finishing the last round with 13 'encourage' votes, 0 'discourage' votes, and 2 abstentions. On 6 October 2016, the Security Council unanimously recommended Guterres to the General Assembly, which formally selected him by acclamation on 13 October 2016.
The 2016 selection was much more open than previous selections, with public nominations being sought and candidates participating in televised debates. Women and Eastern Europeans were favoured, as no woman had ever served as Secretary-General, and the Eastern European Group was the only one of the UN Regional Groups never to have held the office. However, the two campaigns offset each other, and the selection was won by the only candidate who was neither female nor from Eastern Europe.
Article 97 of the United Nations Charter, states "The Secretary-General shall be appointed by the General Assembly upon the recommendation of the Security Council". As a result, the selection is subject to the veto of any of the five permanent members of the Security Council. The Charter's minimal language has since been supplemented by other procedural rules and accepted practices.
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon would be completing his second term on 31 December 2016, after which he would step down due to the informal two-term limit. Under the principle of regional rotation, candidates from Asia were ineligible to succeed Ban. The Eastern European Group was favored in the 2016 selection, as it was the only one of the United Nations Regional Groups never to have held the office of Secretary-General. However, tensions between Russia and the three Western European permanent members over the conflict in Ukraine raised the possibility of deadlock over an Eastern European nominee. As a result, the 2016 selection was the most open selection since 1981. Candidates from three regional groups were considered for the position: the Eastern European Group, the Western European and Others Group, and the Latin American and Caribbean Group.
Although different regions have held the office, no woman has ever been selected as Secretary-General. In December 2015, General Assembly Mogens Lykketoft and Security Council President Samantha Power wrote a joint letter to all member states, encouraging them to nominate female candidates as well as men. Equality Now launched a campaign to elect a female Secretary-General with the title "Time for a Woman: United Nations—it’s been over 70 years, elect a female Secretary-General" Many female candidates were nominated in 2016, more than in any previous selection.
Historically, the process of selecting a Secretary-General has been so secretive that it has been compared to a papal conclave. Diplomats advanced their own candidacies by lobbying members of the Security Council. Straw polls were taken by secret ballot in the Security Council consultation room, and the voting results were not revealed publicly. All reported information came in the form of leaks.
There has been criticism of the opacity of the process. Writing in Singapore's Straits Times, Simon Chesterman has argued that, for an organisation as important as the United Nations, "having its leader chosen by the lowest common denominator of what the P5 finds acceptable is not good enough". NGOs such as the 1 for 7 Billion campaign and The Elders also favored a more transparent process.
The Security Council and General Assembly took steps to make the selection process more transparent and open in 2016. General Assembly President Mogens Lykketoft and Security Council President Samantha Power sent out a joint letter soliciting candidates from member countries. Candidates also participated in televised debates, where they answered questions about their goals.
When the Security Council met to conduct its first straw poll, it voted in private, as it had done in all selections since 1981. The President of the General Assembly was officially informed that a straw poll had been taken, but the results of the poll were not disclosed. Lykketoft realized that "the outcome of this and future informal straw polls will not be communicated" and complained that it "does not live up to the expectations of the membership and the new standard of openness and transparency". All further straw polls were also taken in private.
At the time of the final straw poll on 5 October 2016, there were ten candidates for the post. Portugal's former Prime Minister and former United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres led in all six straw polls. Deputy Speaker of the Croatian Parliament Vesna Pusić withdrew on 4 August after the first straw poll, in which she came in last position with 11 "discourage" votes, followed by the withdrawal of Montenegro's Foreign Affairs Minister Igor Lukšić on 24 August and the withdrawal of Christiana Figueres on 12 September. Kristalina Georgieva entered the race on 28 September; although the Prime Minister of Bulgaria nominated Kristalina Georgieva as its new sole candidate for the Secretary-General's position, the decision to withdraw from the race can only be done by the candidates; therefore, Irina Bokova decided to continue in the race, leaving Bulgaria with two candidates.
|Image||Name||Prior experience||Nominator||Nominated||Withdrawn||Regional group|
|Vesna Pusić||Minister of Foreign and European Affairs of Croatia (2011–2016)||14 January 2016||4 August 2016||Eastern European Group (EEG)|
|Igor Lukšić||Prime Minister of Montenegro (2010–2012)
Minister of Foreign Affairs of Montenegro (2012–present)
|15 January 2016||23 August 2016||Eastern European Group (EEG)|
|Christiana Figueres||Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (2010–2016)||7 July 2016||12 September 2016||Latin American and Caribbean Group (GRULAC)|
Candidates who failed to be nominated
In July 2016, it was revealed that former Labor Prime Minister of Australia Kevin Rudd asked the Government of Australia (then a government of the Liberal/National Coalition) to nominate him for Secretary-General in April 2016. At its meeting on 28 July, the Cabinet was divided on his suitability for the role and, on that basis, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull decided to decline the request the next day; since nomination by the Australian government was considered a necessary prerequisite for candidacy, Turnbull's decision essentially ended Rudd's campaign; Rudd later confirmed as much.
Security Council straw polls
The Security Council held a series of six straw polls in the consultation room. Security Council members were asked to indicate whether they "encouraged", "discouraged" or had "no opinion" regarding the candidates. The initial five straw polls took place on 21 July, 5 August, 29 August, 9 September, and 26 September.
During the sixth straw poll, the five permanent members voted on red-coloured ballots to reveal whether any of them intended to veto a candidate, while the rotating members voted on white ballots. Since António Guterres was the only candidate who received the necessary nine encouraged votes and had no discouraged votes from permanent members, Guterres was declared by the Security Council as the "clear favourite".
|Candidate||21 July||5 August||29 August||9 September||26 September||5 October||Final Vote|
|9||4||2||7||7||1||7||5||3||7||5||3||6||7||2||7 (3P)||7 (2P)||1||Withdrawn|
|8||5||2||6||8||1||6||8||1||6||7||2||6||9||0||6 (1P)||8 (3P)||1 (1P)||Withdrawn|
|Not yet nominated||5 (2P)||8 (2P)||2 (1P)||Withdrawn|
|4||4||7||3||10||2||2||12||1||3||11||1||3||11||1||3 (1P)||11 (3P)||1 (1P)||Withdrawn|
|12||0||3||11||2||2||11||3||1||12||2||1||12||2||1||13 (4P)||0||2 (1P)||Acclaimed|
|9||5||1||8||4||3||7||5||3||9||4||2||8||6||1||7 (2P)||6 (3P)||2||Withdrawn|
|9||5||1||6||7||2||6||7||2||8||7||0||6||9||0||5 (2P)||9 (3P)||1||Withdrawn|
|7||3||5||2||6||7||9||5||1||10||4||1||8||7||0||7 (2P)||6 (2P)||2 (1P)||Withdrawn|
|7||4||4||8||6||1||7||7||1||7||7||1||7||7||1||5 (2P)||7 (1P)||3 (2P)||Withdrawn|
|11||2||2||7||5||3||5||6||4||7||6||2||7||7||1||5 (1P)||8 (4P)||2||Withdrawn|
|Candidate received at least one "encouraged" from a veto-wielding P5 member|
|Candidate received at least one "discouraged" from a veto-wielding P5 member|
Official nomination and appointment
On 6 October 2016, the Security Council voted by acclamation to recommend António Guterres in Security Council Resolution 2311. On 13 October 2016, the seventy-first session of the United Nations General Assembly ratified the Security Council's choice by acclamation, formally appointing Guterres as the next Secretary-General for a five-year term beginning on 1 January 2017.
- World Federation of United Nations Associations [@WFUNA] (5 October 2016). "Full results of the sixth and final #NextSG strawpoll. Formal result tomorrow. (P5 voting intentions excluded)" (Tweet). Retrieved 5 October 2016 – via Twitter.
- "The most powerful diplomat of the world—Will an Eastern European Woman be the next UN Secretary General?". Association of Foreign Affairs. 12 April 2016. Retrieved 15 October 2016.
- Chesterman, Simon (2007). "Introduction". In Chesterman, Simon. Secretary or General? The UN Secretary-General in World Politics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. p. 7.
- "UN Secretary-General". Unelections.org. Retrieved 17 November 2014.
- Cole, Brendan (20 May 2016). "Could the next UN secretary-general be a woman?". International Business Times UK.
- Tony Fleming (15 December 2015). "Joint Letter Officially Released". Global Memo via UNO. Retrieved 15 October 2016. Online version:
- "Time for a Woman: United Nations—it's been over 70 years, elect a female Secretary-General". Equality Now. Retrieved 15 October 2016.
- The next UN secretary-general: 7 women to consider, Devex, 5 January 2016.
- Sengupta, Somini (21 July 2016). "Secrecy Reigns as U.N. Seeks a New Secretary General". The New York Times.
- Chesterman, Simon (27 June 2015). "Who wants to rule the world?". Straits Times. Retrieved 7 August 2016..
- "For first time in history, selection of next United Nations Secretary-General will include input from all Member States", United Nations News Centre, 15 December 2015.
- "Letter from Mogens Lykketoft and Samantha Power to all Permanent Representatives And Permanent Observers to the United Nations, 15 December 2015" (PDF). 15 December 2015.
- "United Nations begins informal briefings to select next Secretary-General". UN News Center. 12 April 2016. Retrieved 15 October 2016.
- "Letter from Mogens Lykketoft to All Permanent Representatives and Permanent Observers to the United Nations, 21 July 2016" (PDF). 21 July 2016.
- "Next Secretary General selection: nomination of new candidate of Bulgaria" (PDF).
- Bokova, Irina [@IrinaForUN] (28 September 2016). "Grateful to you all who support me and fully committed to continue the race for #NextSG! @She4SG" (Tweet). Retrieved 30 September 2016 – via Twitter. |link = no }
- "Procedure of Selecting and Appointing the next UN Secretary-General". UN. Retrieved 15 February 2016.
- "José Maria Neves supports candidature of António Guterres to UN Secretary General". Ocean Press. 24 January 2016. Retrieved 29 August 2016.
- "Cabo Verde apoia candidatura de António Guterres ao cargo de secretário-geral da ONU" [Cape Verde endorses António Guterres' for the position of UN Secretary-General]. A Bola. 17 June 2016. Retrieved 29 August 2016.
- "Angola apoia candidatura de Guterres a secretário-geral da ONU" [Angola endorses Guterres' candidacy for UN Secretary-General]. Expresso. Lusa. 20 March 2016. Retrieved 18 July 2016.
- Martins, António; Escoto, Pedro (18 April 2016). "França anunciou que vai apoiar Guterres na corrida a secretário-geral da ONU" [France announced endorsement of Guterres in UN Secretary-General race]. RTP Notícias. RTP. Retrieved 23 May 2016.
- "Timor apoia candidatura de Guterres à ONU" [Timor endorses Guterres' candidacy for UN]. Expresso. Lusa. 21 April 2016. Retrieved 23 May 2016.
- "Vesna Pusić odustaje od kandidature za glavnu tajnicu Ujedinjenih naroda".
- Withdrawal of candidature of Vesna Pusić, 4 August 2016
- "El montenegrino Igor Luksic abandonó la carrera para suceder a Ban Ki-moon".
- Withdrawal of candidature of Igor Lukšić, 23 August 2016
- Figures, Christiana [@CFiguere] (12 September 2016). "1/2 Deeply grateful for support received in so many ways," (Tweet) – via Twitter.
- Withdrawal of candidature of Christiana Figueres, 13 September 2016
- Anderson, Stephanie (18 July 2016). "Julie Bishop confirms Kevin Rudd seeking nomination for UN Secretary-General election". ABC News. Retrieved 18 July 2016.
- Hunter, Fergus (18 July 2016). "Nominate me: Kevin Rudd seeks government support to be United Nations boss". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 18 July 2016.
- Borrello, Eliza; Anderson, Stephanie (29 July 2016). "Kevin Rudd releases letters claiming Malcolm Turnbull backed him for United Nations secretary-general job". ABC News. Retrieved 31 July 2016.
- Murphy, Katharine (29 July 2016). "Malcolm Turnbull refuses to nominate Kevin Rudd as UN secretary general". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 29 July 2016.
- Rudd, Kevin [@MrKRudd] (29 July 2016). "My deep gratitude to all friends, colleagues and supporters around the world for your encouragement for my candidature for UN Sec General" (Tweet). Retrieved 29 July 2016 – via Twitter.
- Rudd, Kevin [@MrKRudd] (29 July 2016). "My thanks also to Australian Foreign Minister Bishop and her ministerial colleagues for their support for UNSG. Unfortunately PM disagreed" (Tweet). Retrieved 29 July 2016 – via Twitter.
- Rudd, Kevin [@MrKRudd] (29 July 2016). "So there won't be an Australian candidate for UN Sec Gen.I wish all other candidates well. Future of the United Nations important for us all" (Tweet). Retrieved 29 July 2016 – via Twitter.
- "Security Council to hold second straw poll of next UN chief on Aug. 5". People's Republic of China: Xinhua. 27 July 2016. Retrieved 27 July 2016.
- Lederer, Edith M. (21 July 2016). "Diplomats:Ex-Portuguese Minister Tops Poll for Next UN Chief". United States: ABC News. Retrieved 24 July 2016.
- Landry, Carole (5 August 2016). "Second straw poll could shake up race for UN chief". France 24. Archived from the original on 6 August 2016. Retrieved 5 August 2016.
- "UN to Hold Next Straw Poll for Top Job on August 29". Novinite. 13 August 2016. Retrieved 14 August 2016.
- "Portugal's Antonio Guterres set to be UN secretary general". BBC News. 5 October 2016. Retrieved 6 October 2016.
- Orestes, Benjamin [@boreskes] (21 July 2016). "SOURCE: #NEXTSG straw poll: 1)Guterres 2) Turk 3) Bokova 4) Jeremic/Kerim 5)Clark 6)Lajčák 7)Malcorra 8)Figueres9)Gherman10)Luksic 11)Pusic" (Tweet). Retrieved 21 July 2016 – via Twitter.
- Lee, Matthew Russell (21 July 2016). "On Next SG Straw Poll, Results & Questions of Dual Nationalities, Exclusive". Inner City Press. Retrieved 22 July 2016.
- Abi Saab, Nabil [@NabilAbiSaab] (5 August 2016). "1/2 Results of 2nd round of voting on next #UNSG: (Yes, No, no opinion) Guterres 11,2,2 Jeremic 8,4,3 Malcorra 8,6,1 Turk 7,5,3 Clark 6,8,1" (Tweet). Retrieved 5 August 2016 – via Twitter.
- Abi Saab, Nabil [@NabilAbiSaab] (5 August 2016). "2/2 Figueres 5,8,2 Kerim 6, 7, 2 Luksic 2,9,4 Bokova 7,7,1 Gherman 3,10,2 Lajcak 2,6,7" (Tweet). Retrieved 5 August 2016 – via Twitter.
- World Federation of United Nations Associations [@WFUNA] (29 August 2016). "As part of our commitment to Transparency and Accountability, here are full results of the 3rd #NextSG Straw Poll:" (Tweet). Retrieved 29 August 2016 – via Twitter.
- Bryce-Pease, Sherwin (29 August 2016). "Results of latest straw poll to select next #UNSG". SABC News. Retrieved 29 August 2016.
- World Federation of United Nations Associations [@WFUNA] (9 September 2016). "As part of our continued push for #Transparency at the #UN Full #NextSG 4th Straw Poll Results:" (Tweet). Retrieved 9 September 2016 – via Twitter.
- "Who will lead the United Nations". Reuters. 9 September 2016. Retrieved 9 September 2016.
- World Federation of United Nations Associations [@WFUNA] (26 September 2016). "WFUNA presents the results of 5th #NextSG Straw Poll" (Tweet). Retrieved 26 September 2016 – via Twitter.
- Sengupta, Somini (5 October 2016). "Security Council Backs António Guterres to Be Next U.N. Secretary General". The New York Times. Retrieved 5 October 2016.
- Sengupta, Somini; Minder, Raphael (6 October 2016). "António Guterres Pledges to Help Vulnerable as Secretary General". The New York Times. Retrieved 6 October 2016.
- Foroohar, Kambiz (5 October 2016). "Portugal's Guterres Wins Unanimous Backing to Lead the UN". Bloomberg News. Retrieved 6 October 2016.
- "Figueres ends UN Secretary General bid". News.com.au. 13 September 2016.
- "Montenegro's Luksic drops out of race to be next UN chief". Associated Press. 23 August 2016.
- "Vesna Pusić Withdraws as Candidate for UN Secretary General". Total Croatia News. 4 August 2016.
- Chesterman, Simon (2015). "The Secretary-General We Deserve?". Global Governance: A Review of Multilateralism and International Organizations. Vol. 21 no. 4. pp. 505–513.