Yesterday, members of the Security Council of the UN voted for their preferred candidates for Secretary General of the United Nations in order to reach a pre-selection of contenders. Argentine Foreign Minister Susana Malcorra came eighth out of 12 candidates: although the vote does not fully define the candidates’ participation in the race, it is a strong indication of each candidate’s strength. Malcorra is set to continue in the race.
Let’s recap on the voting process: there are 15 members of the Security Council, five of which have veto power: the US, the UK, France, Russia and China. They can apply their veto power to the potential candidates. Security Council members rated the 12 candidates with a ballot marked with three options: “encourage,” “discourage” or “no opinion.” Based on the results, which are not binding, the candidates can voluntarily step down or continue in the race: there will be another pre-selection in September and then a general vote on October 17th.
Malcorra came in 8th out of the 12 candidates (behind the other two female candidates) with seven votes in favor, four against and four “no opinion.” Although far from first place, La Nación sources close to the Foreign Ministry have stated that “she did well” and will continue in the race. In addition, Malcorra stated in a press release that the vote was just “the first step in a [long] process.”
“I am more committed [than ever] to continue working with my team [for] this candidacy,” said Malcorra.
Former Portuguese Prime Minister and head of the UN refugee agency Antonio Guterres came first, allegedly with 12 votes in favor and is the only candidate to have no votes against.
Over the past few months, Malcorra has visited around 30 countries, combining her agenda as Argentine foreign minister with her UN candidacy. In June, it was revealed that the US would endorse Malcorra. However, there is a potential obstacle: obtaining the UK’s vote despite tensions between Argentina and the UK over the Malvinas sovereignty dispute. The UK is also a member of the Security Council and has the power to veto a candidate.
The position of Secretary General is currently occupied by South Korean Ban Ki-moon, who will step down on December 31st 2016. If she wins, Malcorra has stated that she will begin a “smooth transition” out of Argentina’s foreign ministry, keeping her post until December. If she loses, she will allegedly keep her post as foreign minister.