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Rutte's candidacy for NATO Secretary General supported by 28 countries

Rutte's candidacy for NATO Secretary General supported by 28 countries Prime Minister of the Netherlands Mark Rutte (Getty Images)
Author: Maria Kholina

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte has garnered support from several countries to become NATO's new Secretary-General, according to NOS.

Sources have indicated that 28 out of 32 NATO member countries support Rutte's candidacy. Three more countries have joined them in the last 10 days. This means that four more countries need to be brought on board, as the candidacy requires unanimous support from all 32 member states.

In the coming days, foreign ministers of NATO countries will be in Brussels, where discussions on the successor to Jens Stoltenberg, who is stepping down from his post at the beginning of October, will take place on the sidelines of the summit.

Romania has its own candidate. Türkiye and Hungary have not yet announced their support for Rutte. Slovakia is named as the fourth country causing doubts.

Sources within NATO report that Rutte is negotiating with these four countries regarding his vision for NATO leadership.

Obstructionists Hungary and Slovakia will ease their opposition to Rutte if Romanian President Klaus Iohannis withdraws his candidacy, NATO circles say. Until this happens, Hungarians and Slovaks will awkwardly reject Iohannis, the only official candidate from another Eastern European country.

Candidates for NATO Secretary-General

Current NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg has repeatedly stated his intention to leave his position. However, this process is being delayed due to, among other things, the war in Ukraine. Until the fall of 2023, there were no clear contenders for the position of NATO Secretary-General.

However, at the end of October last year, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said that he would be interested in replacing Jens Stoltenberg as NATO Secretary-General.

Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas also expressed interest in the position of NATO Secretary-General, as did Latvian Foreign Minister Krišjānis Kariņš and Romanian President Klaus Iohannis.

According to Western media reports, Rutte is leading the race for the position of NATO Secretary-General.