Ex-Danish PM nominated to head UN refugee agency

Copenhagen, Sep 4 (IANS) Danish Prime Minister Lars Loekke Rasmussen on Friday put up his predecessor Helle Thorning-Schmidt as the country’s candidate for the post of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees.

As Denmark’s first female prime minister, Thorning-Schmidt held the office from September 2011 until June 2015, when she lost in the parliamentary election and stepped down as the chairwoman of the Social Democrats party, Xinhua news agency reported.

“With the great global challenges of the massive migration and the large influx of refugees in recent years, there is more than ever the need for a strong UNHCR team led by a leader with both experience and solution-oriented capacity,” said Danish Foreign Minister Kristian Jensen in a statement.

Jensen said the government is happy that Thorning-Schmidt has agreed to be Denmark’s official candidate.

The incumbent High Commissioner, Antonio Guterres, who was the former Portuguese prime minister, is scheduled to retire at the end of this year. He was appointed to the post by the UN General Assembly in 2005.

Jensen said Guterres has in the past 10 years done an excellent job and it is important that his successor “can pick up the baton and help gather the world for solutions and help for people on the run”.

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