Bulgarian European Commission vice-president Kristalina Georgieva is to be a late entry into the race to succeed UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, media reports on September 10 said.
According to a tweet by Talal Al-Haj, UN bureau chief of television station Al-Arabiya, Georgieva will be nominated by Hungary, Latvia and Croatia, with the support of Germany.
He said that the nomination of Georgieva – now in her second term on the European Commission – had been agreed on the sidelines of the most recent meeting of the G20.
Separately, Bulgarian-language media said that Bulgaria’s Cabinet would withdraw its nomination of Irina Bokova to replace it with a nomination of Georgieva. Well-informed sources indicated to The Sofia Globe that this move could be expected in coming days.
The reports came the morning after the UN Security Council’s fourth and latest “straw poll” saw Bokova, scion of a Bulgarian communist family and now in her second term as head of Unesco, came in a poor fifth in the vote among the 15 Security Council members.
In the vote, Bokova got seven “encourage” votes, five “discourage” and three “no opinion”.
Bokova initially was nominated in the dying days of the 2013/24 ruling axis, a government nominally led by the Bulgarian Socialist Party, that stepped down amid widely-supported public protests demanding its resignation.
Her nomination was confirmed in 2016 by the current centre-right government headed by Boiko Borissov, after minority socialist ABC party leader Georgi Purvanov – a former BSP leader – threatened to withdraw his support for Borissov’s government unless it endorsed Bokova. Though Borissov gave in to this pressure, Purvanov later led his party out of the government anyway.
Georgieva previously indicated, early in 2016, that she would not be available to be the candidate because she would be continuing in her post in the Juncker European Commission.
However, the ground has been being prepared for some time for the nomination of Georgieva, who has an impressive range of experience at international level at the World Bank and at the European Commission and is widely respected.
Apart from the dwindling support for Bokova, it is seen as highly likely that her candidacy would be vetoed by at least one of the permanent members of the UN Security Council, the United Kingdom.
Bokova’s controversial candidacy has been backed in part by those who say that the next head of the UN should be a woman from Eastern Europe – a criterion that Georgieva meets.
(Photo of Georgieva: EC Audiovisual Service)