Archive for the ‘Straw Polls’ Category

Dhanapala Withdraws: Now it is 6

September 29, 2006

From ColomboPage.com:

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.

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Thoughts on Straw Poll Results

September 28, 2006

UNSG has the results. We will compare with the results of the 2nd round. Some observations

  • 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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

Dhanapala says France and UK voted against him!

July 31, 2006

Dhanapala’s blog includes an account of his votes:

They said the five encouragements for Dr. Dhanapala were from China, Congo, Ghana, Qatar and Tanzania while those who gave a vote of discouragement were Argentina, Denmark, France, Greece, Slovakia and the UK — with Japan, Peru, Russia and US remaining neutral.

At the same time, there is speculation that the US voted “discouraging” against everyone.

Several other Sri Lankan articles have appeared that challenge the basis for his candidacy. Sri Lanka World reports that the straw poll was a “setback” and reported that:

Analysts said they believed Mr. Dhanapala`s age, a ripe 67 was two years past the UN retirement age and that probably was a reason for the disappointing result.

A South African paper has reported that:

Finally, Dhanapala’s chances were undermined by the fact that Sri Lanka’s new government is not enthusiastic about him.

Dhanapala says that the campaign will go on. We have trouble understanding this decision (along with the decision to republish an article indicating his vetoes). He got two vetoes. His government doesn’t like him. And even his domestic press seem to be turning on him.

His attempts to reach out to the US have been unsuccessful. His attempts at NAM appear to be unsuccessful. What does he want out of this at this point?

More on Straw Poll results

July 27, 2006

UNSGSelection.org has a great summary of straw poll results. Several highlights:

Other expert observers suggested that Council members may have been generous with Ban Ki Moon because he is a sitting Foreign Minister as well as with Shashi Tharoor because he is a senior UN official. This perhaps contributed to harsher treatment of the other two candidates. Diplomatic politeness and sense of protocol would not carry high-level candidates past veto votes, however

We have argued that both Ban and Shashi are deeply flawed candidates, and further discussions may yet reveal this. UNSGSelection also said:

The most recent note from the President of the Security Council, Ambassador de la Sablière of France, implied that multiple straw polls could take place (as happened in December 1996). A South Korean official yesterday indicated that the Council would meet again about SG selection only after the sixty-first session of the General Assembly begins in September.

They also mention that no one is obligated to drop out, however, Dhanapala is a bit of a special case. He got 6 “discouraging” votes. He could have, at most, 6 “no” votes. Why would his 4 “no opinion” votes be inclined to flow towards him? And that is assuming that none of the 6 are P5 members. His candidacy is  dead and he needs to stop wasting the time of the Sri Lankan government. Perhaps he can go back to the Peace Secretariat and start fixing the problems that he left in his own country to run for UNSG.

Fallout from the Straw Poll

July 26, 2006

Well, the first straw poll has occurred. It has raised several questions and ended several questions. Let’s consider some:

Is the race over? Ban Ki-moon got 12 “encouraging” votes and one discouraging. We don’t know if that one was from Japan (highly likely) or from a P5 country. If Japan, the game is essentially over. It is unlikely that we will find a candidate with more support.

Will candidates drop out and more enter? There is a distinct possibility, which Bolton raised in his press briefing:

the various candidates consider what the votes were compared with what
they received there may now be decisions either for additional
candidates to enter the race or for one or more candidates in the race
to drop out.

But who? Sathirathai and ASEAN have been quite vocal that he will stay in the race. There has been little activity from Dhanapala. Either one of them dropping out raises the possibility of new candidates emerging. Indeed, one Australian article has characterized this as “Goh’s chance”, if only Sathirathai were to leave the race. Later, a Thai paper, reporting from the ASEAN Ministerial, reported that “The Singaporean government had informed the five permanent members of the Security Council that former prime minister Goh Chok Tong would not run for the post”. And Dhanapala’s leaving might just result in a Deva candidacy. Not to mention the other array of candidates.

What happens next? Dhanapala will regroup or drop out. Sathirathai will “campaign harder”. Ban and Shashi really have their work cut out for them. Because of Ban’s success on the first ballot, Shashi will need to resolve any of his structural problems. It is certainly possible to have a 13-2 versus 13-2 deadlock or somesuch, requiring other candidates to emerge. Finally, new information could emerge. We still have strong concerns about Ban, which may yet come to the fore.