Mary Robinson for President or foreign affairs supremo of Europe? | Belfast and Beyond | 8 Oct 2009 | Amnesty International UK

Mary Robinson for President or foreign affairs supremo of Europe?

There's something about Mary

I'm a long self-confessed fan of Mary Robinson. I even had the chance to host her in Belfast last year when she gave the Amnesty International Annual Lecture.

The former Irish President and UN High Commissioner for Human Rights keeps herself more than busy these days by heading up Realizing Rights: the Ethical Globlization Initiative.

Looks like a growing number of people want her to take up a new job though – as first proper President of the European Council or as the new High Representative for foreign affairs, posts created by the Lisbon Treaty.

A Facebook online campaign group backing her for the Presidency, started just a couple of days ago, has already attracted some 1,500 supporters and it's growing fast. There's inevitably something of an 'anyone but Blair' feel to a few of the comments left on the Facebook page. It's clear, though, that many people have been inspired by Robinson's human rights leadership over the years and would like to see that sort of moral standing carried into the office of the first President of Europe.

It's not just common or garden fans (like me) showing their support. European Commission vice-president Margot Wallström (and one of the most senior Social Democrat figures in Europe) has also apparently joined the Facebook group, having already backed Robinson's candidature on a recent visit to Ireland:

“We have started to hear some names and finally I have heard the name of Mary Robinson being mentioned. I am very glad about this. It would be very, very good, she is a true European. This is about leadership and she has that leadership quality. She is highly respected everywhere.”

Now, in a new interview, Wallström has named Robinson and ex-Austrian foreign minister Ursula Plassnik as possible candidates for the two new top European posts, saying that at least one of the jobs should go to a woman:

"It is shameful that, so far, no women seem to have been put forward as possible candidates. All we hear about are people like Tony Blair and other men.""What is being overlooked is that there are many very competent women candidates."

Robinson is 14/1 for the Presidency with Paddy Power bookmakers. Far behind Blair in the running but maybe worth a punt as a possible compromise candidate?

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Our blogs are written by Amnesty International staff, volunteers and other interested individuals, to encourage debate around human rights issues. They do not necessarily represent the views of Amnesty International.
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