Who are the candidates for UN Secretary General from the Balkans?

Ban Ki-moon, the incumbent Secretary General of the United Nations, will end his second 5-year term in office on 31 December 2016. His successor, who will serve from 2017, will be elected by the United Nations General Assembly this autumn. The next Secretary General, elected in a more transparent manner than before, is likely to belong to the Eastern European group of states according to an informal rotation scheme for this position. Therefore, a large number of candidates for Secretary General come from the Balkans, both from the EU-member states such as Croatia, Slovenia and Bulgaria, and candidate states such as Serbia, Macedonia, and Montenegro. Here we will present the official candidates for the position of UN Secretary General from some of the Balkan states, also mentioning their competitors from outside the region.

Igor Lukšić (Montenegro)

Igor Lukšić serves as Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and European Integration of Montenegro. Lukšić previously served as Prime Minister (2010-2012) and Minister of Finance (2004-2010) of Montenegro, as well as an MP of Montenegro (2001-2003) and of Serbia and Montenegro (2003-2006).

Irina Bokova (Bulgaria)

Irina Bokova has been the Director-General of UNESCO since 2009, being the first woman to hold the office. Bokova has previously been a member of the Bulgarian parliament in two terms, as well as a Deputy Minister and acting Minister of Foreign Affairs of Bulgaria. She has also been the Bulgarian ambassador to France and Monaco and a permanent delegate of Bulgaria to UNESCO.

Danilo Türk (Slovenia)

Danilo Türk is an experienced diplomat, professor of international law and the former President of Slovenia (2007-2012).Türk was previously a member of the United Nations Sub-Commission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities (1984-1992), Ambassador of Slovenia to the UN (1992-2000) and the President of the UN Security Concil in 1998 and 1999. He is currently a visiting professor of international law at Columbia University in New York and a professor emeritus at the University of Ljubljana.

Vesna Pusić (Croatia)

Vesna Pusić is a former Minister of Foreign and European Affairs of Croatia (2011-2016) and the First Deputy Prime Minister of Croatia (2012-2016). She is currently the Deputy Speaker of the Croatian Parliament and the President of the Croatian People’s Party, which she represented in the Croatian Parliament on four occasions (2000, 2003, 2007, 2015). She also held the post of Vice-President of the European Liberal Democrat and Reform Party (ELDR), to which she was elected in 2006 and 2008. Pusić is a sociologist, known for her work on the rights of women and industrial democracy.

Srgjan Kerim (Macedonia)

An experienced diplomat, Srgjan Kerim is the former President of the United Nations General Assembly (62nd session, 2007-2008) and the Foreign Minister of Macedonia (2000-2001). He was also the Special Envoy of the UN Secretary General on Climate Change between 2008 and member of the Council of Presidents of the United Nations General Assembly since 2008. Kerim served as the ambassador of Macedonia to Germany (1994-2000) and Switzerland and Lictenstein (1995-2000). Kerim holds a PhD in Economy from the University of Belgrade, where he was also an assistant and a professor. He is curently a professor of Development of Global Businesses at the South East European University in Macedonia.

Vuk Jeremić (Serbia)

Vuk Jeremić is a former President of the UN General Assembly (67th session, 2012-2013) and the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Serbia (2007-2012). A young, talanted, and already experienced diplomat at the tender age of 40, Jeremić held a number of positions within the Serbian government during the last decade, becoming the Minister of Foreign Affairs at the age of 31. Famous for his fierce resistance to the recognition of the independence of Kosovo, Jeremić was a member of the Democratic Party of Boris Tadić, which he left in 2013. He holds a BA from the University of Cambridge, MA from Harvard University. He is currently the President of the think-tank Center for International Relations and Sustainable Development (CIRSD).

Other candidates for the position of the UN Secretary General are Antonio Guterres, former United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (2005-2015), Natalia Gherman, former Minister of Foreign Affairs and European Integration and Deputy Prime Minister of Moldova (2013-2016), and Helen Clark, Administrator of UNDP.

Irina Bokova from Bulgaria and Vuk Jeremić from Serbia are considered favourites to win the election and succeed Ban Ki-moon as the Secretary General of the United Nations.