During recent informal review of the candidates for Secretary-General, Danilo Turk of Slovenia seems to be among the credible contenders. Former President of Slovenia, he was also the first Permanent Representative of the Republic of Slovenia to the UN and Assistant Secretary General for Political Affairs, although he left in less than amicable terms. Mr. Turk's departure was after the Under Secretary General for Political Affairs, Sir Kieran Prendergast, also had to leave earlier than he expected.

There was much speculation about Mr. Prendergast's possible replacement in 2005 -- one of the two Assistant Secretary Generals in the Department of Politic Affairs -- Mr. Turk (Slovenia) or Mr. Gambari (Nigeria); initially the trend was in Mr. Turk's favour. However, as Mr. Turk waited with much anticipation for the scheduled announcement at the noon briefing, the two hours between prayer and the noon briefing produced other developments on the 38th floor that prodded Secretary-General Kofi Annan to go for Mr. Gambari, Nigeria's former Foreign Minister.

Obviously disappointed, Mr. Turk sent a letter which was eventually leaked (some claimed by him and others claimed by his adversaries - who knows) in which he said that the Department, if "well led," would deliver outstanding accomplishments, adding that he was a strong candidate and therefore could not "compromise" his career and thus would leave. However, he added that he would devote time to academic life and service to his country with the hope of returning to the United Nations in another capacity.

Obviously the new capacity would be as a candidate for Secretary-General - the highest post. He happens to come from the area of Eastern Europe which is mentioned as the first choice and seems to have the support of certain powerful capitals, although other equally-powerful capitals would have some doubts. Since there is call for a woman candidate, Ms. Bakova (Bulgaria), Deputy General of UNESCO, has an edge.

However, Mr. Turk may still have a chance, particularly in a time when balloting is secret and as the campaign gets closer to a final decision.

Will Mr. Turk be a "Yes Man" a "Yes-Sir Man" or...

One of the other credible candidates for Secretary-General is Ms. Bakova. The international community is calling for a woman; Ms. Bakova is both a woman and Eastern European. Additionally, she is the first international official to defend cultural heritage and while condemning these actions, under her watch we saw the International Court issue their first judgment against someone who destroyed a World Heritage site in Timbuktu Mali.

Sir Kieren Prendergast

Danilo Turk

Irina Bakova