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Thai leader says country's candidate to lead UN is dropping bid

Thai leader says country's candidate to lead UN is dropping bid

Surakiart Sathirathai, Thailand's candidate for secretary-general of the United Nations, is dropping his bid for the job, the country's new interim prime minister said Thursday.
The announcement by Prime Minister Surayud Chulanont came after Surakiart met with him Thursday to tell him of the decision, the Thai leader said.
It followed an informal poll of the 15 U.N. Security Council nations on Monday that gave South Korean Foreign Minister Ban Ki-Moon a near-certain victory in the contest to succeed Kofi Annan.
Immediately after the straw poll, U.N. Undersecretary-General Shashi Tharoor of India, who came second, announced he was dropping out of the race, and Jordan's U.N. ambassador withdrew on Wednesday.
Surakiart, 48, a former deputy prime minister and foreign minister, could not be contacted Thursday.
A Thai Foreign Ministry spokesman, Kitti Wasinondh, told The Associated Press that "Surakiart said that he accepts the straw poll's result and will stop campaigning."
"There is no requirement for him to officially withdraw from the race," he said.
Surayud, taking questions from reporters outside his office, told them "It is customary for candidates who received fewer votes in the pre-final round to withdraw."
"It is like when we play football. When we go to the final round and know that we are going to lose, we have to accept it," he said.
Surakiart's bid for secretary-general had been heavily promoted by the government of former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, who was ousted from power by a Sept. 19 coup d'etat. The military council that deposed him had announced soon after its takeover that it also supported Surakiart's candidacy.
Surakiart was the first prospect for the position to formally announce his candidacy, and was shifted from his position as foreign minister _ while staying as deputy prime minister _ to campaign more or less full-time for the U.N. job. He was presented as the candidate of the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations.
In an informal ballot of the 15 Security Council nations on Monday, Korea's Ban won 14 favorable votes and one expressing no opinion. Most importantly, he won the support of the council's five veto-wielding nations _ Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States.
The council has scheduled a formal vote for this coming Monday. Its recommendation of a candidate to succeed Annan, whose second five-year term expires on Dec. 31, must be approved by the 192-member General Assembly.
Two other candidates remain in contention _ Latvia's President Vaira Vike-Freiberga and former Afghan Finance Minister Ashraf Ghani.
Sri Lanka's Jayantha Dhanapala, a former U.N. disarmament chief, withdrew after a poor showing in the third informal poll last week.


Updated : 2021-04-13 21:10 GMT+08:00