Portugal’s ex-PM Guterres leads the race for the next UN Secretary General. But…

How important or unimportant and why do you find this first “straw” poll in the UNSC as Portugal’s ex-PM António Guterres (photo credit: www.un.org) is now probably a front runner for being the next UN Secretary General.  Read few comments.


Martin EdwardsAssociate Professor and Director, Center for UN and Global Governance Studies, Seton Hall University

I think the poll was important. Because there are so many candidates (and others have yet to announce) it’s important to send signals to the candidates on how well they did. So it’s not only the number of encourage that matters, but the number of discourage votes each received as well.

Will this result in narrowing the field? Possibly. If one has eleven discourage votes out of a total of 15, then that’s certainly hard to combat. But I wouldn’t expect that many to drop out.

There are three things to keep in mind here:

1)      Delegates still think regionally. While Guterres did impress in the informal dialogues, he could have received votes to make life difficult for other candidates from Western Europe such as Helen Clark. So while he leads right now, this is no guarantee of the final result. It’s not yet halftime.

2)      Power still matters. We don’t really know who each of the P5 are backing, and they are not putting their full efforts toward lobbying for their preferred candidates just yet.

3)      But the best part is that this process was transparent. While the results were not going to be officially released, they still appeared on the news wires a few hours later. Hopefully this process continues, and it certainly happened because those concerned with the outcome genuinely want a public process, which is quietly revolutionary.

Daniel Serwer, Senior Research Professor of Conflict Management, Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, John Hopkins University, Scholar, Middle East Institute

I don’t think this tells you much. The only votes that really count are US and Russia. Once they agree on a candidate, the rest will fall into place. I still think a woman is more likely than a man.


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