• Russia wants an East European woman as next UN chief

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    UNITED NATIONS: Russia said Monday that it would like to see a woman as the next UN secretary general and would back a candidate from Eastern Europe; days after Bulgarian Kristalina Georgieva entered the race.

    Russian Ambassador Vitaly Churkin, whose country holds the Security Council presidency this month, also said a formal vote to pick a successor to Ban Ki-moon could happen soon.

    “We do believe that it is the turn of Eastern Europe to provide the next secretary general,” Churkin told a news conference, adding: “We would very much like to see a woman.”

    His comments came less than a week after Bulgaria switched candidates for the position, putting forward Georgieva, the European budget commissioner and a former World Bank vice president.

    The Bulgarian economist appeared before the UN General Assembly on Monday, fielding questions during two hours on everything from the war in Syria to the refugee crisis and climate change.

    The contest for UN chief will head into new territory on Wednesday, when the five permanent council members — Britain, France, China, Russia and the United States — are set to vote in the race’s latest straw poll.

    They will use colored ballots to indicate whether the candidates would face a veto when the council moves to a formal vote.

    Churkin said there was “a good chance that a few days after” Wednesday’s straw poll, the council will formally vote to pick a nominee, who will then be presented to the General Assembly for approval.

    Georgieva, if chosen, would be the first female UN chief.

    AFP

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