Names of several women are beginning to emerge as possible candidates for Deputy UNSG. Ban has stated his intention to appoint a woman to the post, and most observers are certain that the candidate will hail from a developing country.
To date, the following names have been suggested:
- Fayza Mohamed Aboulnaga, Egypt’s Minister for International Co-operation (source)
- Maria Angela Holguin, former UN Ambassador from Columbia (source)
- Rima Khalaf, former Assistant Secretary-General (source)
- Thoraya Ahmed Obaid, Executive Director of UNFPA (source)
- Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, former Foreign Minister of Nigeria, (source)
- Anna Tibaijuka, head of the UN Habitat in Nairobi (source)
- Vaira Vike-Freiberga, President of Latvia and former candidate for UNSG (source)
Obaid and Khalaf, Saudi and Jordanian respectively, are rumored to be the front-runners. The nomination of either would ”would send a message to the Arab world about the need to empower women.” This could make the appointment of either confrontational, a characteristic not usually associated with Ban. If his choice comes down to either Obaid or Khalaf, he will almost certainly engage closely with Muslim and Arab General Assembly members prior to any announcement, which could occur by this Friday.
General Assembly approval is not required for appointment to the number 2 post, though India’s Ambassador Nirupam Sen has suggested extending the role of the General Assembly in confirming Under Secretary Generals to include the Deputy UNSG position as well. Reportedly, India and Pakistan are jointedly leading an effort in this regard, but no change in the process is expected in terms of Ban’s selection.
UPDATE, 4 Jan: According to a permanent mission source, information from “the 38th floor” suggests that the Deputy SG post will go to a African, and that Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala is a leading candidate.