Kristalina Georgieva, the European Commission Vice President in charge of budget, hinted yesterday (22 September) that she is ready to enter the race to become the next secretary-general of the United Nations.
Speaking in New York on Wednesday, Georgieva said it was up to the Bulgarian government to decide whether to nominate her as a candidate to succeed Ban Ki-moon.
“I’m very honoured that many people are encouraging me to run,” Georgieva said at an event organised by the International Peace Institute, a think tank that closely follows UN affairs.
“As a Bulgarian national, I would say that this is a decision for the Bulgarian government,” she said, in the clearest sign yet that she is ready to enter the fray.
The first formal indication that she was considering to run for the UN top job dates from November 2015.
There are currently nine candidates in the race for the UN top seat the Security Council has already held four straw polls to gauge support for the contenders.
Portugal’s former prime minister Antonio Guterres was the frontrunner in all four polls, but veto-wielding Russia has said the next UN chief should come from eastern Europe, the only region that has yet to be represented in the top post.
Council members are also facing calls to pick the first woman for the top job, after eight men have held the position successively.
Bulgaria already has a candidate in the race, UNESCO chief Irina Bokova.
A new straw poll will be held on 26 September, after which Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borissov has said he may decide to put forward another candidate.
“If after the 26th (Bokova) is not first or second, there will not be the means to pursue this and we will see together what to do,” Borissov said earlier this month.
Georgieva, in New York during the UN General Assembly gathering of world leaders, dismissed reports that other eastern European countries could present her candidacy.
“I am not seeking or willing to be nominated by a different country, because this is my country, I love it. There is no way I would do anything that puts me at odds with being a Bulgarian,” she said.
In fact, China has said it would not accept candidates nominated from other countries than their own.
The 63-year-old economist who serves as the European Union’s budget commissioner has long been tipped as a possible contender to be the first woman to lead the United Nations.
Speculation intensified after Merkel discussed her possible run with Russian President Vladimir Putin on the sidelines of the G-20 summit this month.