Baltic supporters of Latvian President Vaira Vīķe-Freiberga’s bid to become the next secretary general of the United Nations are looking ahead to the next straw poll expected this week during a meeting of the Security Council in New York.
The Security Council, which will decide who is to replace Kofi Annan as secretary general of the world body, is expected to take another straw poll on Sept. 28. The council’s members include Russia and China, both likely opponents of Vīķe-Freiberga’s candidacy. While not binding, the straw poll should give an indication of who the front-runner is.
The American Latvian Association and the Baltic Association to the United Nations, as well as the president’s supporters in Latvia, have been organizing online petitions and other activities to promote Vīķe-Freiberga. She is the only woman among seven announced candidates for the position. Vīķe-Freiberga, rumored for months as potential canidadate for Annan’s job, announced Sept. 15 that she wants to be considered for the post.
The New York-based BATUN on its Web site notes that no woman has ever led the United Nations and that no one from Eastern Europe has held the post. BATUN also points to the president’s poltical and diplomatic experience, including serving as a special envoy for Annan’s reform efforts.
Valdis Pavlovskis, head of ALA’s Information Office, in an e-mail urged supporters of the president to sign an online petition and to contact members of the U.S. Congress about the president’s candidacy.
Both BATUN and ALA are encouraging Baltic-Americans to sign an online petition at www.chooseawomanforun.org. The petition, which had been signed by more than 9,000 people by Sept. 26, was set up by French supporters of picking a woman to lead the United Nations.
Annan’s term as secretary general expires at the end of this year. Vīķe-Freiberga is in her second term as president of Latvia.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, during a Sept. 23 press conference in New York, reaffirmed his country’s position that the next secretary general should come from Asia.
© 1995-2023 Latvians Online
Please contact us for editorial queries, or for permission to republish material. Disclaimer: The content of Web sites to which Latvians Online provides links does not necessarily reflect the opinion of Latvians Online, its staff or its sponsors.