First ever public hearings for UN secretary general held in New York
The first ever public hustings for UN secretary general were held at UN headquarters in New York on April 14. The former foreign minister of Serbia, Vuk Jeremic, the head of the United Nations Development Program, Helen Clark, and the former foreign minister of Macedonia, Srgjan Kerim, participated in the third and final session of informal briefings.
Each candidate was given a televised and webcast two-hour timeslot, starting with a short oral presentation. Representatives from Member States asked questions, followed by the President of the General Assembly, who asks a few of the more than 1000 questions submitted by the general public on social media.
Former Serbian foreign minister Vuk Jeremic presented General Assembly members with an 81-page platform containing 53 specific commitments on issues from stabilizing countries in the Mideast and North Africa to prioritizing genocide prevention.
Former New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark said the UN needs "a proven leader who is pragmatic and effective" — and she has demonstrated those qualities. As one of four women in the race, she stressed that "all my life I have fought for gender equality and women's empowerment."
"My commitment to social justice at home and abroad led me to a 27 year parliamentary career which culminated in nine years as Prime Minister of New Zealand. Since then, I have been in New York these past seven years as Administrator of UNDP," she said.
The other candidates are Montenegro's Foreign Minister Igor Luksic, the former Croatian Foreign Minister Vesna Pucic, the former Slovenian president Danilo Turk, UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova from Bulgaria, the former Moldovan Foreign Minister Natalia Gherman and former UN refugee chief and ex-Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Guterres.