Montenegro's Luksic drops out of race to be next UN chief

AP News
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Posted: Aug 23, 2016 7:07 PM

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — Montenegro's Foreign Minister Igor Luksic withdrew from the race to be the next U.N. secretary-general on Tuesday, leaving 10 candidates vying to succeed Ban Ki-moon.

General Assembly President Mogens Lykketoft sent a letter from Montenegro's U.N. Mission to all U.N. member states announcing Luksic's withdrawal — and included a letter from the foreign minister.

Luksic came in last in the second informal poll which was topped by Portugal's former Prime Minister Antonio Guterres. The next "straw" poll is scheduled to take place on Aug. 29.

Ban's second five-year term ends on Dec. 31.

According to the U.N. Charter, the secretary-general is chosen by the 193-member General Assembly on the recommendation of the Security Council. In practice, this has meant that the council's five permanent members — the U.S., Russia, China, Britain and France — have veto power over the candidates.

By tradition, the job has rotated among regions. Asia, Africa, Latin America and Europe have all held the world's top diplomatic post. East European nations, including Russia, argue that they have never had a secretary-general and it is their turn.

There has also never been a woman secretary-general and a group of 56 nations are campaigning for the first female U.N. chief.

In his letter, Luksic said "for the sake of equal ownership of all the regions within the U.N. I hope the Eastern European argument will prevail when it comes to the final decision."

He said the next secretary-general will face the demanding job of making sure "the U.N. system is fit for the purpose."

The global agenda has been substantially improved, Luksic said, and in the coming years the next U.N. chief should concentrate on implementing that agenda "and making sure the world's youth perceives the U.N.'s work as a lighthouse of the better future."