UN Secretary-General Election is a Hypocritical Sham
Arora Akanksha, a self-nominated candidate challenging the incumbent Secretary-General António Guterres, is campaigning for a new, reformed and inclusive UN. Her candidacy is legally valid under the rules established by the UN in 2015 (Resolution 69/321). Yet, General Assembly President Volkan Bozkir’s website lists only the incumbent Secretary-General as a candidate, preventing other candidates from being considered and blocking Akanksha’s agenda of reform.
“The UN preaches democracy to the world but can’t organise a competitive election in its own backyard. It’s a hypocritical sham. The absence of any women, people of colour, or young people from the race should set alarm bells ringing for anyone who cares about democracy, justice, or equality.” says Akanksha.
Alongside this failure to include other candidates in official communications, Volkan Bozkïr has scheduled an early hearing for the Secretary-General selection on May 7th 2021, months before the official selection in October. Discussion and debate on who will serve as the next Secretary-General will therefore be held with just one candidate, the incumbent. Akanksha says, “This makes a mockery of democracy. And I am surprised that the world’s largest and oldest democracies – India and the USA are both not alarmed by this total failure?”
The UN preaches gender equality, but has never had a female Secretary General in its 76 year history. To this Akanksha says, “In 2016 Secretary General elections, there were seven female candidates out of a pool of 13 candidates. All those women had similar experiences and age as the incumbent; yet a male was chosen for the job. So this year, I have presented myself as a candidate, who is less than half the age of the incumbent has different but relevant experiences, and again they have a problem. Not sure who is that ‘one woman’ who can satisfy every criteria in men’s wishlist.“
Asked about the status of her application, Akanksha said, “I have reached out to all 193 member states. I have met with five countries so far. Countries are fearful of nominating me because of retaliation from members of the Security Council and the European Union.” Asked further about which countries she met, Akanksha added, “No one from the Global North who promotes women’s equality and youth inclusiveness have even acknowledged the receipt of my email. It reduces rhetoric for women’s empowerment and youth inclusiveness to outright hypocrisy. What’s at stake is much bigger than my campaign. It’s about my generation getting participation rights in the decision making process and not just visitation rights. ”
As a next step, Akanksha says, “UN should follow through its own resolution 69/321 and I should be allowed to present my candidacy and be part of the official hearing and selection process.”