David Clark: Bulgaria in Danger of Blowing Its Big Moment

Politics » DIPLOMACY | February 6, 2016, Saturday // 16:51
Bulgaria: David Clark: Bulgaria in Danger of Blowing Its Big Moment Irina Bokova, UNESCO Director-General, is "the strongest candidate" according to "seasoned UN watchers", David Clark opines. File photo, EPA/BGNES

Bulgaria is one of the few Eastern European countries capable of proposing a UN Secretary General candidate trusted by all Security Council permanent members, an opinion piece on the FT's beyondbrics blog reads.

However, "a fierce battle is under way" in the country over who will be its candidate to succeed Ban Ki-moon, with "no process" and "no open debate" taking place and "now way of knowing how or when a decision will be taken", according to David Clark, who chairs the Russia Foundation.

Bulgaria's government earlier this week announced a decision was due by the end of March - the informal deadline when all countries willing to endorse a candidate must officially have submitted their proposal to the world body.

But Clark says "Bulgaria is already supposed to have nominated its candidate," referring to UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova often described, in his words, as a "frontrunner" and "by all standards a strong candidates".

"The late challenge has come from Kristalina Georgieva, the European Commission Vice-President for Budget and Human Resources," he notes, noting this rivalry has given way to accusations that "the government dithering is damaging Bulgaria's national interest" and pointing to the fact that one of the cabinet's coalition partners, ABV, threatened to withdraw unless Bokova's nomination is confirmed.

"The longer this goes on, the more likely it is that the two Bulgarian candidates will cancel each other out," Clark writes.

"The opportunity before Bulgaria today will not come again quickly, and it will not come again at all if its government is deemed to have mishandled it this time. If Bulgaria wants the prestige and influence that comes with holding the top UN job, it will have to throw its full diplomatic weight behind its strongest candidate," meaning, in his view citing "consensus among seasoned UN watchers, Irina Bokova.

You can read the full text here.

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Tags: Irina Bokova, Kristalina Georgieva, UN Secretary General, ABV

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