15 DECEMBER 2015


A decision by the new president of Argentina to appoint the UN Secretary-General's Chef de Cabinet Susanna Malcorra as his Minister of Foreign Affairs prompted speculation that it could strengthen her credentials in running for the top post of UN Secretary-General when the competition starts to escalate in mid-2016.

Although Eastern Europeans would certainly claim their turn, a widening demand for a woman Secretary-General would place Ms. Malcorra at least in a prominent position, having both worked at UN headquarters and taken charge of the foreign affairs of an active "UN country" like Argentina. Her hand is strengthened by the interim arrangements in New York where she was replaced as Chef de Cabinet by an accommodating colleague from Latin America, Edward Mulet, a Guatemalan diplomat who had served as ambassador in the United States, Canada and Switzerland, in addition to his many years as a journalist in his own country.

A designated Deputy Chef de Cabinet, Patrick Carey of Ireland, may have doubtful credentials but is known to toe the line as required. Ms. Malcorra's work in the private sector in Argentina and then with the World Food Programme in Rome before coming to New York as DPKO Under-Secretary-General for Field Support and Chef de Cabinet in the Office of the Secretary-General would offer her a wide spectrum of support by those who dealt with her over the years.

However, all the rest is a question for speculation, as there are other already-mentioned female candidates, including one from Mexico who is pushing very hard, and one from Chile, who does not seem interested at all.

As the New York lottery advertisement says - "Hey, you never know."

The Security Council will be deliberating in earnest by mid-next year, and anything can happen by then. Meanwhile, all those who knew Ms. Malcorra wish her success in her current assignment, an obvious prerequisite for any future ventures.