NATO Chief’s exit plan brings succession race

BRUSSELS: The Nato alliance confirmed on Sunday that its long-serving chief would leave office in October, launching a new round of speculation about his successor.
Diplomats in Brussels say there is no consensus as to who should replace former Norwegian prime minister Jens Stol-tenberg as the Western alliance’s top civilian official.
Some allies were considering a plan to extend his already nine-year-old term to oversee Nato’s response to the crisis unleashed by Russia’s war against Ukraine.
But, on Sunday, shortly after Stoltenberg returned from high-level meetings in Washington, his spokeswoman con-firmed that he would leave office later this year.
“The mandate of Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has been extended three times and he has served for a total of almost nine years,” spokeswoman Oana Lungescu said.
“The secretary general’s term comes to an end in October of this year and he has no intention to seek another exten-sion of his mandate.”
The 63-year-old’s decision to go will shine a light on the race among senior European officials to replace him, with gov-ernments already discreetly floating candidates in news media leaks.

The secretary general has always been a European, even if in practice Washington has the decisive vote on his — or maybe, this time, on her — nomination.

And although the daily job is one of coordination and seeking consensus among the 30 allies, the choice itself will be seen as symbolic of Nato’s direction. –Agencies