South Korean foreign minister frontrunner in Security Council straw poll for Secretary General
Dhanapala not discouraged by UNSC straw poll
Colombo, July 27, 2006
Sri Lanka's candidate for the post of UN Secretary
General, Jayantha Dhanapala, is not discouraged by the
fact that he finished last in Monday's secret straw
poll among the 15 members of the Security Council.
"The results are not definitive. The poll gives no
indication as to what the ultimate choice will be,"
Dhanapala told Hindustan Times here on Thursday.
The real vote will be taken only in October.
Dhanapala said that the number of votes in the "No
Opinion" category indicated the possibility of changes
in his favour at a later date.
"The early front runners may fall out of favour. And
current views may not translate themselves into actual
votes," he said.
In the "secret" poll, the UNSC members had been asked
to check mark ballot papers, which only read
"Encourage", "Discourage" and "No Opinion".
And there was no way of knowing which country voted
for whom, and how the five permanent members, with a
veto each, voted.
Dhanapala pointed out that all the four candidates had
got "discourage" votes and said that this was pregnant
"If one of the voters in this category is a Permanent
Member, it may mean a veto," he said.
"Boutros Boutros Ghali got 14 out of 15 votes, but a
veto prevented him from getting selected finally,"
In 1996, the US used its veto to stall Ghali from
getting the customary second term.
In the latest straw poll, the front runner was the
South Korean Foreign Minister, Ban Ki-Moon, with 12
"encourage" votes, one "discourage" vote and two "no
opinion" votes (or 12:1:2).
Sashi Tharoor of India got 10:2:3; Surakiart
Sathirathai of Thailand got 7:3:5 and Jayantha
Dhanapala of Sri Lanka got 5:6:4.
The Colombo-based Daily News on Thursday quoted James
A Paul, Executive Director of the New York based
Global Policy Forum, which monitors the day to day
activities of the UN, as saying that the straw polls
were "early exercises" and any speculation based on
them would not take one very far.
However, the US, the most important factor in the
United Nations, does not seem to be so dismissive.
Speaking to the media in the UN after the poll, the US
envoy to the United Nations, John Bolton said: "The
individual candidates who have declared now have to
examine these results and decide what their next step
And others who have been considering whether to become
candidates can look at the results and decide whether
they will now enter the race."