President Mauricio Macri has sent letters to the UN General Assembly President Mogens Lykketoft and the Security Council to officially nominate Foreign Minister Susana Malcorra as a candidate for UN Secretary General. The post currently occupied by South Korean Ban Ki-moon, who will step down on December 31st 2016. According to Malcorra, her possible role as Secretary General would be “an opportunity to insert Argentina” in the international sphere.
“This is the President’s decision, which he makes taking into account what he sees as opportunities to insert Argentina [in the international sphere], it’s a gamble and many others have to [agree] that I’m the appropriate person [in order for it to happen],” said Malcorra in an interview with Radio Mitre.
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Malcorra emphasized the latter point: that there is a rigorous selection process in which many others have to agree that she is the right person to be the Secretary General.
“There is a big distance between [my candidacy] and me taking charge of the UN, there’s a selection process […] I will keep being Foreign Minister until things are defined. That won’t happen before October [so] in the upcoming months you will have a Foreign Minister working 24/7 as you have until now,” explained Malcorra.
Malcorra is currently in Beijing, China, a country with a permanent seat on the UN’s Security Council that would have a say in her nomination — the Security Council recommends a candidate to the General Assembly, which then takes a vote. In a world tour this month, Malcorra has also traveled to the UN in New York, the Organization of American States (OEA) in Washington DC, Russia and the United Kingdom, where she took part in the first bilateral meeting between UK and Argentine foreign ministers in 14 years. Basically, the less objectionable candidate for the Security Council members gets the job (they can veto the candidates).
“The new Secretary General would come into office on January 1st. The process has begun [and] there have been a series of presentations from nine candidates. The direct vote begins in July and a decision will be made in October, there isn’t a fixed schedule,” explained Malcorra.
Of the nine candidates currently running for Secretary General, seven are from Eastern Europe. Since there has not yet been a Secretary General from that region (and the UN typically selects its head from a region on a rotation basis), Malcorra’s got competition. In her favor, however, is the fact that no woman has ever held the post and that many believe this year is the year a woman will finally be Secretary General. But then again, she’s got competition: there are currently four other female candidates. This is also the first time that Secretary General hopefuls have announced their candidacies instead of lobbying behind the scenes (hence why there isn’t a “fixed schedule”).
Lykketoft announced there would be a round of question-and-answer sessions on June 7th with candidates, and the he expected two more candidates to join the nine who’ve already presented their candidacy. Although he refused to name names, diplomats have suggested three likely contenders: Slovak Foreign Minister Miroslav Lajcak, UN Economic Commission for Latin America head Alicia Barcena and our girl Malcorra.
“If things work out favorably, the President will have to choose a successor, we’ll agree on a transition and we will do it in the most organized way possible. None of this will happen from one day to another,” Malcorra added.
Although Malcorra says this would take time, there have already been speculations as to who would replace her if the role of Foreign Minister opens up. Potential candidates include the Strategic Affairs Secretary Fulvio Pompeo, Senate head Federico Pinedo (our 12-hour President beloved by Frank Underwood) and even the current Finance Minister Alfonso Prat-Gay (after negotiating so much with the holdouts, he might start missing New York).