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Friday, September 15, 2006

UNSC: Jordanian is 4 out of 5 in race for UN chief

The UN Security Council dealt a blow to a Jordanian prince's ambitions to become the next UN secretary-general, ranking him fourth among five candidates in an informal poll on Thursday.

Otherwise, the results echoed a similar straw poll held in August. The candidates from South Korea and India did the best, while the two from Thailand and Sri Lanka still trailed, China's UN Ambassador Wang Guangya said.

The secret poll only gives a hint of how the candidates might fare in formal elections later this year. It is largely meant to indicate whether they should remain in the race, and many diplomats say the person who will become the eighth secretary-general in the United Nations' 60-year history has likely not yet come forward.

Aside from the United States, most diplomats generally agree that the next secretary-general should come from Asia, part of a tradition to rotate the job between regions. The UN chief can serve two five-year terms. US Ambassador John Bolton has argued that the job should go to the best qualified candidate - regardless of nationality.

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