Is it time for Ban Ki-moon to quit? This is not an obvious moment for United Nations secretary-general to do so. His second term is set to finish at the end of this year anyway. The race to replace him is heating up, with a posse of politicians from Eastern Europe jostling for the lead. Ban is not very secretly planning to run for the presidency of South Korea next year, and there has been speculation that he could leave New York early to campaign. But for now, U.N. officials and diplomats seem to think he’ll last the course.
Having absorbed a great deal of criticism for his innate caution over the years, Ban has also enjoyed some significant boosts to his reputation recently. He garnered a good deal of credit for his role in securing both the Sustainable Development Goals and the COP21 climate change agreement last year. He continues to struggle with reports of gross sexual abuse by U.N. peacekeepers, but has declared that cleaning up the problem is one of his outstanding priorities. Last week, the U.N. announced that it is repatriating 120 troops accused of abusing minors in the Central African Republic.
So why should Ban think about cutting his time in Turtle Bay short a little early?