Bulgaria officially nominates Bokova as its candidate to be UN Secretary-General

Bulgaria’s Foreign Ministry has sent the United Nations a formal letter nominating Irina Bokova as the country’s candidate to be the next UN Secretary-General, the ministry said on February 9 2016.

The letter was sent arising from a decision made on June 19 2014 by the cabinet of the time.

“With her biography and her accumulated experience, Ms Bokova may be one of the significant candidates in the forthcoming campaign for UN Secretary-General,” the ministry said, adding that the letter was signed by Foreign Minister Daniel Mitov on February 9 2016.

The three-paragraph statement on the Foreign Ministry website was a sequel to a statement on February 8 by Bulgaria’s government that European Commission Vice-President Kristalina Georgieva had telephoned Prime Minister Boiko Borissov to say that she was staying at her job at the commission.

Bokova, currently in her second term as head of Unesco, was nominated in the closing weeks of the now-departed Bulgarian Socialist Party-Movement for Rights and Freedoms ruling axis, that stepped down from office following months of widely-supported public protests against it and electoral humiliation for the BSP in May 2014 European Parliament elections.

Bokova, a Bulgarian Communist Party member until that party’s dissolution and reconfiguration as the Bulgarian Socialist Party, was a deputy minister in a BSP government that was forced out by protests in the 1990s and was a failed vice-presidential candidate on a BSP ticket in Bulgaria’s October 1996 presidential elections.

After the current centre-right coalition cabinet headed by Prime Minister Boiko Borissov came to power in November 2014, there were reports that Bokova would be dropped as UN Secretary-General candidate in favour of Georgieva, a respected former World Bank vice-president in her second term at the European Commission, having been promoted to be in charge of the EU budget and human resources portfolio in the Jean-Claude Juncker Commission.

Left-wing political forces campaigned for Bokova, with minority socialist breakaway party ABC, a partner in the Borissov coalition cabinet deal, threatening to withdraw its support for the government unless Bokova was nominated officially, immediately, and with a serious government campaign to back her.

Candidates for the UN Secretary-General’s post identified in media reports included Croatian former foreign minister Vesna Pusić, Slovenian former president Danilo Türk, Republic of Macedonia former foreign minister and former UN General Assembly president Srgjan Kerim, Portugal’s former prime minister and former UN High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres, Serbian former foreign minister Vuk Jeremić and New Zealand’s former prime minister Helen Clark.

If the UN keeps to custom of rotating the handing out of the post among various geographical blocs, the next UN Secretary-General would come from the Eastern European Group of the world body. In a recent interview with The Observer, Ban said that it would be good if the job went to a woman. The UN has not yet had a woman Secretary-General.




The Sofia Globe staff

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