Former Australian PM Rudd 'not running for UN chief post'

2015-04-17 11:41
Kevin Rudd. (File: AFP)

Kevin Rudd. (File: AFP)

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Sydney - Kevin Rudd is not a candidate to be the next United Nations' secretary-general, a spokesperson said on Friday, despite the former Australian prime minister leaving the door open for the high-profile job in an interview.

The 57-year-old Mandarin-speaking Rudd, who is based in New York as head of the policy institute Asia Society, has been campaigning for the diplomatic post according to his friends, analysts and former Labor Party colleagues, The Sydney Morning Herald reported.

But a spokesperson for the ex-leader - who served as prime minister from 2007 to 2010 and again in 2013 - said the secretary-general's job was due to be rotated to Eastern Europe, which would rule out Rudd as a candidate.

"It is agreed that the next rotation will be Eastern Europe, which has never had a secretary-general," the spokeswoman said in a statement.


"Last time I looked, Australia was not in Eastern Europe. For those reasons, Mr Rudd is not a candidate."

In an interview with the Herald published on Friday, Rudd did not deny he was interested. But he added he was "utterly pragmatic" about Eastern Europe's turn after current chief Ban Ki-moon finishes his term on 31 December 2016.

Rudd did not think the tensions between the West and Russia would hurt an Eastern European candidacy.

"I'm sure across Eastern Europe there are those of more neutral persuasion," he said.

"Who knows, we are 18 months away from that, but the bottom line is that the overwhelming consensus in the United Nations system is that it's a rotation to Eastern Europe. Therefore it is not applicable to yours truly."

Political career

The newspaper said former New Zealand prime minister Helen Clark, head of the UN Development Programme, was another possible candidate.

Rudd was elected prime minister in the 2007 general election in a landslide defeat of John Howard, but in his first term he was dumped by colleagues fed up with his style of management. He became foreign minister in Julia Gillard's government.

Rudd remained popular with the electorate and Labor returned to his leadership in June 2013, making him prime minister for a second time.

However, he announced an end to his chequered political career in November 2013, quitting politics two months after losing elections won by current Australian leader Tony Abbott.

A former diplomat who has long studied China, Rudd was an outward-looking prime minister whose love of travel earned him the nickname "Kevin 747".

Read more on:    un  |  ban ki-moon  |  australia

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