The Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borissov today (28 September) nominated Commission Vice-President Kristalina Georgieva to be his country’s candidate to run for the post of UN Secretary-General.
It is unclear what will happen to the candidacy of Irina Bokova, the Unesco director general, who was the first Bulgarian pick for the job.
Borissov announced that the new official candidate is Georgieva, as euractiv.com yesterday reported was increasingly likely.
Borissov had said that he would change candidates if Bokova didn’t come first or second at the fifth informal straw poll at the United Nations took which took place on Monday (26 September).
At that poll, Bokova, until now the leading woman candidate, went down to sixth place.
Borissov has been under pressure from the European’s People Party (EPP), and George Soros’ Open Society Foundation, to “change horses” and nominate Georgieva.
At the UN session, Daniel Mitov, Bulgaria’s foreign minister, openly lobbied for Georgieva, while Bulgarian President Rossen Plevneliev failed to mention her by name when he said in a speech that his country had a strong female candidate for the UN job.
Sources told EURACTIV that the Bulgarian ambassador in New York approached the UN Secretariat asking for information about the procedure of changing candidates, and asked when a hearing with the new candidate could take place.
In principle, nothing prevents a country nominating a new candidate even at this advanced stage of the decision-making. But this brinkmanship undermined Bokova.
The UN Secretariat told the Bulgarian ambassador that in order for Bokova to be replaced, she would need to file a letter announcing her withdrawal.
It appears extremely unlikely that Bokova would file such a letter. Bokova said yesterday she sees no reason why she would withdraw from the race.
“With a second candidate, Bulgaria would become a laughing stock. Internal and external pressure has misled the prime minister,” Bokova said.
Georgieva, who attended the UN General Assembly in New York last week, no longer denies that she wants to join the race.
It is unclear however how European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker plans to replace her. Commission spokespeople have rejected suggestions that Georgieva has been campaigning for the UN job during her mandate as Commissioner.