UN Top Job: Is Bulgaria to Blame for Losing Its Chance?

Opinions | October 6, 2016, Thursday // 09:58|  views

The UN Security Council plenary hall in New York. File photo, BGNES

Results of the vote for UN Secretary General show neither of the two Bulgarian candidates stood any chance to take over the office, an expert has said, a day after Portuguese ex-Prime Minister Ant?nio Guterres was announced as an unanimous choice by the UN Security Council.

The country had unrealistic expectations of the race based on the latest developments with its candidacy, Neno Dimov, head of the Right-Wing Policy Institute, has told the Bulgarian National Television.

There were two Bulgarian candidates in the contest for the UN's top job. One of them, EU Commission Vice President Kristalina Georgieva, became the official nomination of Sofia after replacing Irina Bokova, the UNESCO Director-General, with the government arguing she fared poorly in the straw polls held at the United Nations.

The two candidacies left Bulgarians divided, with "left-leaning" politicians and experts siding with Bokova and the others speaking out in favour of Georgieva.

While each of the candidates had "qualities and potential", they had inevitably prompted veto by some of the permanent Security Council members through their actions, Dimov has noted, citing Bokova's stance on the Falklands (which angered the UK) and the inclusion of Palestine into UNESCO (which sparked outrage from the US).

"It makes no sense" for Bulgaria to consider the development as a shame and failure, with Georgieva having tried to "save" the Bulgarian candidacy, Dimov has argued, adding there are a number of backroom agreements and a "compromise" related to the choice of the UN Secretary General between the US and Russia.

Gallup International Bulgaria's co-owner Andrey Raychev, blamed the development on the government's decision to replace Irina Bokova's candidacy "under pressure from Germany."

Straw polls held earlier at the UN were by no means decisive and Boyko Borisov's cabinet made a mistake when decising to drop its support for Bokova, damaging the chance she could win.

He even accused the former Bulgarian Ambassador to the UN, Stefan Tafrov, of siding against the candidacy of Bokova at the time she was endorsed by Bulgaria and of leading a campaign to convince diplomats she was a "Putinist", while her father was "a communist and a murderer." Bokova's father headed Rabotnichesko Delo, the mouthpiece of the Bulgarian Communist Party (BKP), during the Cold War.

Dimov, however, threw the blame on the previous elected government, the socialist-liberal administration led by Plamen Oresharski, which had been the first to approve Bokova as a candidate for domestic purposes "to show [it] had emerged out of international isolation." Oresharski's critics often point out his cabinet paid almost no visits to Western countries during its 14-month tenure.

"The government of Oresharski should have consulted with other parties when naming Bokova," Dimov added.

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Tags: Irina Bokova, Kristalina Georgieva, Ant?nio Guterres, Andrey Raychev, Neno Dimov, Right-Wing Policy Institute, UN Secretary General, UN Security Council, straw poll


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