By Seth Brandle | Contributor
The United Nations (U.N.) will hold elections for the position of Secretary-General in a historic campaign between eight candidates. The Secretary-General is regarded as the face of the United Nations, setting the direction of the international body's proposals. This makes the appointment procedure a globally significant event. With an unprecedented goal of achieving as much transparency as possible, the U.N. will broadcast the candidate's hearings before the General Assembly on the internet, allowing anyone in the world to watch and lend their voice to the process.
Under normal procedure, the 15 U.N. Security Council member states, including China, Russia, France, the U.K. and the U.S., appoint an individual they deem qualified. The General Assembly then votes whether to approve the Security Council's choice.
While this format will be followed for this appointment, the big twist is that the public will be able to view the process that, up until now, has been considered secret. The Security Council member states will likely be pressured to choose the candidate the public most desires after the public hearings. For the first time in its history of over 70 years, there is a chance that the public can drive the appointment.
Of the eight candidates vying for the position, four are women. Most of the candidates are from Eastern Europe, giving the region a chance to have strong representation in front of the General Assembly. The candidates are all extremely qualified, including former prime ministers, economists and foreign ministers. Countries that could possibly be represented include Bulgaria, Croatia, Moldova, New Zealand, Portugal, Slovenia, Montenegro and Macedonia.
The current Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon of South Korea, was elected in 2007 and has served two terms as the leader of the U.N. He is stepping down voluntarily. Secretary-Generals serve five-year terms that can be renewed an unlimited number of times, but none has ever served more than two terms.