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South Korean foreign minister frontrunner in Security Council straw poll for Secretary General

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  • Greg Cannon
    http://www.hindustantimes.com/news/8041_1753978,00160130.htm Dhanapala not discouraged by UNSC straw poll PK Balachandran Colombo, July 27, 2006 Sri Lanka s
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      http://www.hindustantimes.com/news/8041_1753978,00160130.htm

      Dhanapala not discouraged by UNSC straw poll

      PK Balachandran

      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
      with possibilities.

      "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,"
      Dhanapala recalled.

      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
      is.

      And others who have been considering whether to become
      candidates can look at the results and decide whether
      they will now enter the race."
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