Macedonian diplomat seeks Turkish support to succeed Ban Ki-moon

Macedonian diplomat seeks Turkish support to succeed Ban Ki-moon

Macedonian diplomat seeks Turkish support to succeed Ban Ki-moon

In this Sept. 18, 2007 file photo, Srgjan Kerim of Macedonia, president of the 62nd Session of the General Assembly briefs reporters at U.N. headquarters - AP photo

Former Macedonian foreign minister and the U.N. General Assembly’s 62nd president, Srgjan Kerim, has requested Turkey’s support for his candidacy to succeed Ban Ki-moon as U.N. secretary general.

The U.N.’s first ever public race for the post is set to begin this week, with a total of eight candidates gearing up to make their pitch for why they are suitable for the position to the General Assembly. 

Kerim, who served as the U.N. General Assembly’s president in 2007 and 2008, was the first candidate to put himself forward for the post.

Speaking a total of nine languages, Kerim has since 2008 been a member of the Council of Presidents of the United Nations General Assembly and he has also served as a U.N. envoy for climate change.

Considered as a push for transparency in the selection process, this year all candidates are expected to join hearings for two hours to lay out their vision and answer questions from member-states and civil society groups.

For decades, the selection of the U.N. chief has been the purview of the five permanent Security Council members - Britain, France, China, Russia and the United States - in a process kept mostly behind closed doors.

But the General Assembly in September 2015 voted to lift some of the secrecy surrounding the process, asking candidates to send a formal letter of application, present their resumes and appear at hearings.

Among the declared candidates are UNESCO chief Irina Bokova of Bulgaria, former New Zealand Prime Minister and head of the U.N. Development Program Helen Clark, and former high commissioner for refugees Antonio Guterres of Portugal.