Tony has all the details over at UNSG.org.
Jayantha Dhanapala has made several comments on the race worth considering:
“Naturally, one is disappointed that the international community did not recognise my experience and qualifications, which were readily conceded by everybody,” Dhanapala told the Sunday Island, on his return to Sri Lanka. “It seems to me that decisions (at the Security Council) are more politics-based than merit-based… and I think analysing the politics of it must wait a while.”
“I am content that we conducted a very professional, dignified, ethics-based and low-budget campaign focusing on my merits as a candidate,” he added. “A withdrawal at this stage was the right thing to do at the right moment in the interest of securing a consensus around an Asian candidate, which has been our principled position from the beginning.”
Is that a point of contrast?
It appears that Ban Ki-moon is rolling out the endorsements prior to Monday’s colored straw poll, presenting himself as Asia’s consensus candidate.
Sri Lankan press is reporting that Dhanapala and Sri Lanka are throwing support behind Ban.
AP is reporting that Japan will endorse at an upcoming event. The Japanese Foreign Minister has been quoted as saying:
Assuming a summit meeting can be arranged, (Japan’s endorsement) would be offered at that point.
The only question at this point is who the sole discourage vote was on Thursday’s straw poll and whether more will occur as a consequence of allegations of corruption or improprieties in the way that Ban has fought the campaign. Speculation is that the UK was responsible for the “discourage” as a delaying tactic. There is a chance that the news stories may solidify that, further encouraging more candidates, which has been the standard line of the UK and the US.
Tomorrow will be quite interesting.
Following the results of the third ‘straw poll’ in the election of the Secretary-General conducted by the members of the Security Council on Thursday 28 September 2006, the Government of Sri Lanka – with the total agreement of its candidate – has now decided not to further pursue the candidature of Ambassador Jayantha Dhanapala in the interest of ensuring a consensus in electing an Asian candidate.
- Ban did lose one encouragement to a “no opinion”. We assume that this is either the US or the UK, given their current statements.
- Shashi Tharoor lost two encouragements to “no opinion”. Who is softening.
- The Latvian did well. We can assume that her support is the 5 Europeans and the US. One more could include Japan. This is a strong performance but completely explicable. Indeed, the real question for her is how to increase her support. We do not believe it is possible without a fundamental restructuring of the race. In any case, what is she after?
- Zeid, Surakiart Sathirathai, and Dhanapala have failed as candidates. They should get out and stop wasting their countries’ time and money. Sathirathai or Dhanapala exits might open the possibility of other entrances.
- It is too early to tell about Ghani, but we have trouble imagining him go anywhere.
The real questions to be answered at this point are:
- Can Ban be stopped? There are two scenarios where he would not be selected. Ultimately, they both probably must occur.
- A better candidate emerges. A new ASEAN candidate could introduce this scenario.
- A fault emerges that gives the US and UK (probably need both) to sustain the diplomatic pressure associated with vetoes. We believe that evidence of vote buying could, under some circumstances, be this issue.
- What is Shashi Tharoor trying to get out of this? We have recently heard the theory that he is really running for Foreign Minister of India, where the UNSG race is a gambit to increase Indian leverage for a UNSC permanent seat. In essence, they would stop pushing Tharoor to in exchange for Chinese (and Russian?) commitments to support India’s seat.
- What is the Latvian trying to get out of this? We do not have a theory for this yet.
We look forward to seeing how this evolves.
The Washington Post’s columnist Jim Hoagland:
That warning of the dangers of answered prayers applies particularly to President Bush and his support for Ban Ki Moon, South Korea’s reliably stolid foreign minister, in the highly competitive race to succeed Kofi Annan at year’s end. Bush — pilloried by Third World radicals at last week’s General Assembly opening — may be picking up a lightning rod instead of a shield.
Hoagland reports that the US has committed, at some point, to withdraw its support for Shashi Tharoor:
A shift to voting only for Ban — a move that Bush indicated he would make to South Korean President Roh Moo Hyun at a White House meeting this month — would probably doom the hopes of Tharoor and the other candidates.
Hoagland also mentions our concerns about foreign aid:
South Korea’s generosity in foreign aid and investment decisions may work in Ban’s favor with some nations, it is said in diplomatic understatement in the corridors of the United Nations.
This article suggests that the deal is done. The UK could not sustain a veto unless there was a substantially better candidate.