NEW YORK – The United Nations held a debate Thursday night as part of its ongoing race to decide its next Secretary General, where the public had the opportunity to learn more about where the candidates stand.
Though the race had initially begun with five candidates vying to become the next United Nations Secretary General, by the time of the planned debate early Thursday evening only three candidates remained after Ipodtouch87 and Kittyabs dropped out.
Incumbent Secretary General ChernayaAkula, who is widely viewed as the favorite to win the race and had polled at 58% in a pre-debate RTA Twitter poll, took to the stage alongside challenger AntonyMinister, who in his opening remarks declared himself a man without a nation after apparently being expelled from the United Kingdom and who had polled at dead last at 4% before the debates, as well as Tastely, who was there to represent other challenger MuhummadThoharii who unfortunately was unable to attend the debate that night due to time zone differences but who polled at 16% before the debates.
At stake in Thursday’s debates was not only a chance to eat away at each other’s support, but to also win over the sizable group of undecided voters – in RTA’s pre-debate poll consisting of 22% of respondents. While the general public will not be the ones voting on the next UN Secretary General on July 10th through 12th, public opinion will likely play a role in swaying the votes of their governments, and many world leaders were in attendance at the debate that night.
GROWING INTERNATIONAL TRADE
Thursday night’s Secretary General debates at the International Debate Hall, hosted, with aid of UN staff member Catfan4, by group holder and former Secretary General Tormentium and former General Assembly President Tentacools who, as has become something of a tradition for these debates, both came dressed as the eccentric characters “Caesar” and “Effie” from the popular “Hunger Games” franchise, opened with a question on the rise of the UN’s trade agency, International Trade, an initiative of Secretary General ChernayaAkula, and their role in helping aid member nations in further developing.
While Tastely made the case for MuhummadThoharii’s plans to expand International Trade’s efforts to Asia and the Middle East, where he says “it hasn’t really gotten to”, AntonyMinister kept his remarks rather short, affirming his belief in trade before adding that “If all the countries in the world connect we can have peace.”
Secretary General ChernayaAkula meanwhile, who is running primarily on what he says are the successes of his administration over the last several months, made it clear that there’s still more work ahead of him, stating that “I think there’s certainly something left to be done” and adding that he plans to bring more nations into the fold of his International Trade organization.
BALANCING MEMBER INFLUENCE
The topic of debate then turned to the question of lifting up and giving more weight to the voices of typically smaller and less developed United Nations members who don’t have as much influence within the organization as some other members do.
In this segment of the debate, the candidates were mostly in line with each other on the need for reforms to the General Assembly and for helping highlight the perspectives of smaller nations, something ChernayaAkula, somewhat cheekily, remarked on at one point, stating “it’s great to see that the other candidates, in essence, agree with the policies I’ve just lined out […] So thanks, guys! It’s good to know that our policies work.”
ROLE OF THE SECURITY COUNCIL
In the third, and what would be the final, major topic for the approximately hour-long debate, the moderators brought up what they called an “inherent problem that UN leaders face”, asking the three candidates how much influence the Security Council, and by extension the larger and more powerful nations in the United Nations, would likely have if they were elected Secretary-General.
While ChernayaAkula made the case for a strong Security Council influenced by the larger and more powerful member nations of the United Nations, arguing that the UNSC ensures “that the most respectable, authoritative nations, with the most resources, are able to adequately solve problems quickly”, his opponents took somewhat different stances.
AntonyMinister began to make the case for equal rights and responsibility for member nations as a means to ensure that “All nations can ‘unite’ for the United Nations”, a sentiment which prompted the moderators to interject, “Mr. Antony, pardon me, but, are you suggesting complete dissolution of the Security Council?” This exchange lead to what was for many viewers one of the more notable gaffes of the night, with AntonyMinister only being able to respond with “NO, NO NO, No” before his time was up.
Tastely, meanwhile, made the case that the Security Council shouldn’t be calling all the shots, arguing that the UNSC “should not be the key changer in wars and conflicts” because, he said, all it does “is bring problems to the conflict, and gets more people involved”. He went on to urge member nations not to allow the Security Council to get involved in their conflicts, “They do not control you or your nation. You can fix the issue on your own.”
This rather anti-Security Council, and perhaps anti-United Nations as his opponents would argue, stance from the MuhummadThoharii team lead to a rather heated exchange between ChernayaAkula and Tastely, as the incumbent Secretary General made the case that the Security Council remains an important tool for conflict prevention and mediation. But he would not be able to make his response uninterrupted, however, as Tastely interjected after each remark with a rebuttal of his own, at one point declaring the Security Council “obviously isn’t working”, prompting Secretary General ChernayaAkula to respond, “You will respect my speaking time as I have yours”, before the moderators were able to intervene.
When asked if he wished to be given time to respond to ChernayaAkula’s remarks once he was done speaking only a moment after their heated exchange, Tastely declined, “I’m good.”
With the debate’s audience dwindling near the one-hour mark, moderators Tormentium and Tentacools made the decision to take closing remarks from the candidates before ending the debate.
In their closing remarks, Tastely emphasized the MuhummadThoharii campaign’s apparent experience with managing other international organizations like ASEAN, while ChernayaAkula made the case that he’s, in his view, the only candidate who “intends upon growing, developing, and caring for, the United Nations”. Meanwhile AntonyMinister made the final remarks of the debate night on a rather upbeat note, stating that “You guys should support all the candidates. I think if all of us work together we can unite.”
With both the AntonyMinister and MuhummadThoharii campaigns entering debate night with a sizable polling deficit to incumbent Secretary General ChernayaAkula, as well as more than 1-in-5 members of the public still undecided on who they’d prefer to see win, both campaigns had much riding on their performance in debates, while ChernayaAkula realistically only needed to hold on to the sizable majority of support polling, and conventional wisdom, had thus far said he had.
Whether ChernayaAkula was able to hold his ground, or if AntonyMinister and MuhummadThoharii were able to level the playing field, likely won’t be clear until voting begins on Monday, July 10th, but for now there’s still time for world leaders to weigh the policies of the three candidates, and decide which one will ultimately be the best administrator for the United Nations.