15 MAY 2016


As the campaign for selecting the next Secretary-General has yet to take a clearer shape, there are inside indications that a number of Security Council members, particularly the Five Permanent ones, would be inclined to select a Secretary-General by early September -- that is just before the General Assembly meets in its 71st Session.

An interpretation by a non-permanent member is that they would like to indicate who was actually in charge of making the big decision. The show of openness towards all candidates who were brought in for an almost theatrical questioning may also indicate the intention of placing all applicants in their place before they assume self-importance after they take over. An unprecedentedly open questioning in a somewhat dismissive way is not conducive to an aura of dignified statesmanship. However others would say that the purpose is to settle an issue in time for adequate review and final decision.

There is a particular element regarding the host country, the United States, which is approaching an election of a new president in November. Naturally, President Obama would wish to make his own mark in that area before leaving and the quickest way to do it is to either make a decision this summer or at the latest during a Security Council meeting in September, a few days after the opening of the session, when heads of state will attend.

Considering time constraints, it may not be that easy to get a decision during the summer months, when most delegates actually are on leave, and perhaps some serious candidates have not yet presented their candidature. That's why it seems that the third week of September would be a more likely timing. But as they say in the New York Lottery: "Hey, you never know."