Foreign Ministry Nominates Irina Bokova as Candidate for United Nations Secretary-General

Foreign Ministry Nominates Irina Bokova as Candidate for United Nations Secretary-General

Foreign Ministry Nominates Irina Bokova as Candidate for United Nations Secretary-General

Sofia, February 10 (BTA) - Acting in pursuance of a Council of Ministers' Decision of June 19, 2014, the Bulgarian Foreign Ministry has sent a letter nominating Irina Georgieva Bokova as a candidate for the post of United Nations Secretary-General, the Foreign Ministry said in a press release Tuesday.

With her biography and experience, Irina Bokova may be one of the important candidates in the upcoming campaign for electing a UN Secretary-General, the press release says.

At the moment Bokova is UNESCO Director-General.

Bokova: Bio

Irina Bokova, born on 12 July 1952 in Sofia (Bulgaria), has been the Director-General of UNESCO since 15 November 2009, and was successfully reelected for a second term in 2013. She is the first woman and the first Eastern European to lead the Organization, UNESCO says on its website.

Having graduated from Moscow State Institute of International Relations, and studied at the University of Maryland (Washington) and the John F. Kennedy School of Government (Harvard University), Irina Bokova joined the United Nations Department at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Bulgaria in 1977. In charge of political and legal affairs at the Permanent Mission of Bulgaria to the United Nations in New York, she was also member of the Bulgarian Delegation at the United Nations conferences on the equality of women in Copenhagen (1980), Nairobi (1985) and Beijing (1995). As Member of Parliament (1990-1991 and 2001-2005), she advocated for Bulgaria's membership in EU and NATO and participated in the drafting of Bulgaria's new Constitution.

Irina Bokova was Minister for Foreign Affairs a.i., Coordinator of Bulgaria-European Union relations and Ambassador of Bulgaria to France, Monaco and UNESCO and Personal Representative of the President of the Republic of Bulgaria to the Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie (OIF).

In addition to her mother tongue, she speaks English, French, Spanish and Russian. She is married with two grown children who live and work in the United States.

Reactions to the Nomination by Parliamentary-represented Parties

Speaking to reporters in Parliament, Chairperson of the parliamentary Foreign Affairs Committee and GERB MP Djema Grozdanova said that Bokova's nomination "is without doubt, the best candidacy". Grozdanova recalled that the proposal to nominate Bokova was made by the previous government. In the MP's words, the cabinet has not delayed the nomination. However, the nomination does not guarantee election, Grozdanova said, adding that Bokova faces competition by other female candidates for the post from Eastern Europe.

Opposition Bulgarian Socialist Party leader Mihail Mikov described the nomination as "wonderful, albeit delayed". Mikov said that the government now must involve the ambassadors and engage the entire state machine to work actively so that the candidacy proves successful.

Aliosman Imamov, MP of the opposition Movement for Rights and Freedoms, too said that the nomination was made late and that the government should have long ago valued Bokova's qualities and big chances for the post. Imamov said that there are other candidates from the Balkans who will be serious rivals of Bokova.

The Patriotic Front has not discussed the nomination, floor leader of the formation Valeri Simeonov said. Simeonov's personal opinion is that Bokova is not the best choice but he will support her because there should be a Bulgarian candidacy that is as effective as possible.

ABV MP Georgi Kyuchoukov said in the corridors of Parliament that there had been firm information that the candidacy of the other likely Bulgarian runner for the post, European Commission Vice President Kristalina Georgieva, would be vetoed, not personally but on account of the post she holds. The MP said that Georgieva withdrew because she probably received information that a country that is a permanent member of the UN Security Council will not allow her candidacy.

Ataka MP Dessislav Choukoulov said that Bulgaria should have a clear stand on the matter that stems from the national interest and take into account who of the candidates had the better chance of being elected. "It was clear that this is Bokova and we should not have waited so long and wasted so much time," he said.

Source: Sofia