Issue 147 - July 19 - Asian Group Has Two Candidates for Next GA Presidency

New York, July 19, 2010 - In line with the tradition of regional rotation, Asian states have begun nominating candidates for President of the 66th UN General Assembly.

The pattern of regional rotation since 1963 has been:

  • Latin American and Caribbean States
  • African States
  • Western European and Other States (WEOG)
  • Asian States
  • Eastern Europe.

With Joseph Deiss of Switzerland (a member of WEOG) recently elected to lead the GA's 65th Session beginning this September, it is next the turn of the Group of Asian States to put forward a candidate.

Earlier this year, Qatar nominated Ambassador Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser, its permanent representative to the UN in New York since 1998, for the presidency.

And on Monday, July 12, Nepal nominated Kul Chandra Gautam, formerly the Deputy Executive Director of UNICEF (and the highest-ranking Nepali in the UN system).

By late June, Qatar reportedly had "already begun diplomatic lobbying in New York to secure the position [and] that has worried Nepali diplomats at home and in New York."

Nepal committed to putting forward a candidate in 1998, but its announcement of a candidate was delayed by disagreement within the government.

In April Nepal's foreign ministry proposed Dr. Ram Saran Mahat, the country's former foreign and finance minister, as the candidate. But cabinet did not approve it, reportedly finding Dr. Mahat unqualified for the post, as a former minister: "After the end of cold war the UNGA presidency post has become a lucrative post and many former head of states, governments, and foreign ministers have served.... Ministers don't know much about the nature of the post."

Instead, the Prime Minister proposed Gautam as Nepal's candidate. The cabinet nominated him on July 12. The cabinet also decided to "intensify lobbying to generate support for Nepal."

Foreign ministry officials "have expressed dismay" over Guatam's selection.

See biographies for Ambassador Al-Nasser and Mr. Gautam.