Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Ban Ki Moon Takes Clear Lead

Yesterday's straw poll in the Security Council made it likely that Ban Ki Moon would in fact emerge as the next Secretary-General of the United Nations.

He was the only one of the contenders that did not receive one or more discouraging votes from permanent members of the Security Council, as well as receiving encouraging ones from 14 out of the 15 members.

And number two in the race - Shashi Tharoor from India- immediately gave a concession speech and pledged his support for Ban Ki Moon.

More important than this were statements by the ambassadors of both China and the United States. China's Permanent Representative said that it was "quite clear" that Mr Moon was the candidate, and John Bolton for the US said that he would be "surprised" if there were any new names that would enter the race.

So much for my previous guess that this would in fact happen!

The Security Council now moves towards a formal vote next Monday. That might decide the issue, with the nomination of the Council then going forward for confirmation to the General Assembly.

Latvia's Vike-Freiberga came in a most honourable number three in this last straw poll, although with two permanent members - Russia? China? - casting discouraging votes.

But all in all it was a most impressive achievement by her and by Latvia.

Now we will see what happens on Monday.