Don’t hold your breath

As mentioned in yesterday’s Morning Memo, the question of when Ban Ki-moon will announce whether he’s running for a second term has been asked of the Spokesperson for the SG during recent Noon Briefings. It was raised last week and again yesterday by Khaled Dawoud from Al Jazeera.

Question:  Do we expect an announcement by Mr. Ban Ki-moon during this General Assembly whether he’s running for a second term or not?  When is the deadline for that?  I mean shouldn’t we know a year beforehand?  When is he going to announce whether he’s going to run for a second term or not?

Deputy Spokesperson:  A decision about a second term for this Secretary-General or who would be the next Secretary-General is as always in the hands of the Member States.  It’s up to them to decide on whether or not to do that or consider someone else.  For Ban Ki-moon’s part, he is serving out his current term and he’s trying to do the best job he can during this particular term, which is a term that lasts through the end of next year, which is to say through the end of 2011.

Question: In terms of timing, when are usually these things decided?  Like a year in advance?

Deputy Spokesperson:  The timing of these decisions varies from each time, if you followed the past ones.  It’s in the hands of the Member States.

Question:  So, he doesn’t have to announce something himself?  I mean, even if he doesn’t run, the Member States will say we want you to run?

Deputy Spokesperson:  I think that at this stage there’s no need for him to pronounce himself on this question right now.  Of course, if he feels there is a need for him to pronounce his own views on this, he will certainly do so.

Ban will never make such an announcement, at least not publicly.  Unlike others seeking the role in 2006, Ban did not speak openly about his candidacy the first time (the exception, prior to the first straw poll) and there is no reason to believe he will this time. It would only serve to put his record under more scrutiny and to acknowledge the legitimate  possibility of challengers to the traditional second term. The first official word we hear about his candidacy will a Member State praising him as a humble civil servant that has performed with honor, or such. Even that may not happen unless and until his re-nomination by the Security Council is a done deal, perhaps sometime next summer. So, I’m not holding my breath.

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About Tony Fleming

Tony is a communications and advocacy professional with over 15 years experience in United Nations reform advocacy. He began blogging about multilateral elections in 2006 at UNSG.org. He and his wife currently live in Panajachel, Guatemala. Find him on Facebook and Twitter.