The U.S. and Russia have turned the race for United Nations secretary-general into the latest front in their escalating war for geopolitical influence.
Washington, which is believed to want a woman in the U.N. role, has been backing Argentina’s foreign minister in the secretive selection process, U.N. sources say. Meanwhile, U.N. sources say Russia is angling for a female Bulgarian diplomat with family ties to the Soviet Union, a nod to its desire to see an Eastern European in the job.
Malcorra (Argentina) only had seven votes in favour (one less than Clark) and Bokova had nine votes in the first straw poll. But if US and Russia veto each other’s preferred candidates.
During these early rounds of informal balloting, the five permanent members of the Security Council — the U.S., Britain, France, China and Russia — cannot use their vetoes to knock out candidates. But as the field narrows, the U.S. and Russian influence will only increase because they will be allowed to use their vetoes. By October, when many expect a victor to emerge, that person may not be the one who’s most qualified but instead someone who draws the fewest objections from Obama and Putin.
The next straw poll is out in the next 24 hours.