The former prime minister of New Zealand, Helen Clark, has entered the competition to succeed Ban Ki-moon as secretary general of the United Nations. She is bidding to become the first woman in the role of world’s top diplomat.
According to current New Zealand Premier John Key, Clark carries the “right mix of skills and experience for the job.” Tuesday in Wellington, he announced his country’s nomination of Clark to succeed Ban Ki-moon when he steps down at the end of 2016.
She was the prime minister of New Zealand from 1999 to 2008. She formally entered the race on Monday. Clark is a high-profile candidate in the competition.
It is certain that Clark’s entry would pressurise the power brokers of the UN to appoint a woman as the leading face of diplomacy on the international stage, says Financial Review.
There are major global challenges facing the world today and the United Nations needs a proven leader who can be pragmatic and effective,” said Key.
“Coming from New Zealand, Helen Clark is well placed to bridge divisions and get results.”
She announced her candidacy in New York moments after she was nominated for the top position by New Zealand prime minister. Clark had the skills to lead the UN as it faced “very serious challenges,” she says .
While being the present head of the UN Development Programme, Clark is the eighth candidate to be nominated for the role. The position of secretary-general will be decided on the basis of a new process aimed at introducing greater transparency, The Guardian.
The applicants will be having informal meetings with the UN’s 193 nations. After the meetings, the 15-member Security Council will then suggest a fit candidate, who is to be approved by the General Assembly.
“The position of secretary general is about giving a voice to 7 billion people who look to the UN for hope and support,” she said.
Clark has a reputation as a fighter, who survived nine years of Prime Ministership within the tough and tumble of New Zealand politics. After working for seven years in the United Nations Development Programmes, she is now a tougher administrator.
She was asked if she would reduce the power of the five permanent members. “I acknowledge the importance of the P5, as I acknowledge the importance of every member state,” she said.