Estonia to Push the Security Council to Recommend UN’s Guterres to a Second Term

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Eva-Maria Liimets, Estonia’s foreign minister since January 2021. Women also hold the posts of president and prime minister in the country, a current rarity in the world. RENEE ALTROV/ESTONIAN GOVERNMENT OFFICE

The small Baltic country of Estonia is ready to boost the prospects of United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres winning a second term as the country holds its last Security Council presidency in June during its current elected term.

“It will be very nice for us to do it,” Sven Jurgenson, Estonia’s ambassador to the UN, told PassBlue, adding, “and for me personally because during the last elections five years ago, Estonia together with Costa Rica had a lead in the ACT [Accountability, Coherence and Transparency] group on the selection process of secretary-general.” In 2016, Guterres, a former prime minister of Portugal and head of the UN refugee agency for 10 years, was elected as the UN’s top leader for the 2017-2021 term.

Jurgenson added that “it would be rewarding to me also to see that the next selection will also happen during my watch, when I’m in the Council.”

As part of the overall process, the Council must recommend a candidate to the UN General Assembly for a vote. Guterres, the only officially recognized candidate, is likely to be re-elected, and Estonia wants to make sure the 193-member Assembly carries out the vote this summer.

In early May, after what many countries called a successful public dialogue with UN member states and a few members of civil society in a discussion hosted by the General Assembly president, Guterres’s second term became a fait accompli, to the great disappointment of numerous self-declared candidates who were hoping to be taken seriously and push the process to be even more transparent than it was in 2016, when a bold new experiment occurred.

None of the candidates, however, had a national endorsement, which translated into their not being acknowledged officially by the respective presidents of the General Assembly and the Security Council. A handful of the candidates are still campaigning through informal means, and last week, a new person threw his hat in the ring, Patrick U. Petit, a 52-year-old…