Goh exploring candidacy?

The Indian press is reporting that Singapore's former Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong is considering running for UNSG:

MEA Sources told TIMES NOW that Tong is very keen to contest, but will not do so till he is assured of the support of at least 3 of 5 UNSC permanent members.

Hectic lobbying is on in Singapore to see that Tong wins the support he will need to propel him through. If Tong does enter the fray, it could spell big trouble for Tharoor's candidature.

This strikes us as further evidence that Sathirathai and Ban Ki-moon have hit a brick wall. In addition Mumbai's Daily News and Analysis reports that Goh may be backed by the UK:

Goh’s name has started cropping up after India announced Tharoor’s candidature, and his backers here see it as an attempt to block India’s nominee. They are particularly disturbed by reports that suggest the UK is actively backing Goh. China, which could be the spoiler for Tharoor, has maintained a strategic silence so far, saying only that the secretary general’s post should go to an Asian this time. The MEA feels that if China sees an Asian consensus emerging on Goh, it would back him. Certainly, China would prefer to see a Singaporean in the secretary general’s post, rather than an Indian.

There are also a number of very interesting comments in that article:

The Thai nominee, deputy Prime Minister Surakiart Sathirathai, has ASEAN backing but the permanent five nations are reluctant to support him as UN secretary general because a Thai already holds a top UN post. Supachai Panitchpakdi is secretary general of UNCTAD. The P-5 also has reservations about the other candidates, Sri Lanka’s Jayantha Dhanapala and South Korea’s Ban Ki-moon.

China, for instance, is opposed to a South Korean, because of its proximity to North Korea while the US and European members of the P-5 feel that a Sri Lankan would be vulnerable because of the ongoing ethnic conflict in the island. It’s against this backdrop that India decided to field Tharoor but the backdrop seems to be shifting. These are early days yet with the contest field still unclear, so it’s unwise to come to any conclusions at this point.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: