Former New Zealand prime minister Helen Clark has shown her hand, announcing that she will apply for the role of secretary general of the United Nations. Clark’s credentials mean she is a serious contender for the top job after being head of the United Nations Development Program for seven years. It is well known that the UN is looking favourably on female candidates for the eighth person to fill the chair, as the last seven secretaries general have all been men. By United Nations custom though, it is expected that the candidate will come from an Eastern European state, based on regional cycles. Although former Australian prime minister Kevin Rudd hasn’t officially announced that he wants the job, everything that he has said behind closed doors reveals his intentions. Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has told reporters that she knows that Rudd has been expressing his interest to world leaders, but she didn’t talk up his chances. We’ve previously reported that Rudd is positioning himself as a “compromise candidate” if the security council can’t agree on a candidate from an Eastern European nation. This morning he tweeted that Clark would make a good candidate, and that he wished her well — carefully chosen words:

kevin rudd and helen clark

A high-level source inside the UN building in New York tells us that Rudd’s chances aren’t good:

There is the understanding that ultimately it must be the right person for the job (again you’d have to question Rudd’s qualifications??) And finally his name does not come up in the many discussions on the subject in the corridors of the UN except perhaps occasionally in embarrassed whispers between two Aussies.”


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Peter Fray

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