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Sathirathai will win: Thai PM

Shinawatra voiced confidence that Thailand's candidate would win the soon-to-be vacant position.

india Updated: Jul 05, 2006 15:36 IST

Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra voiced confidence on Wednesday that Thailand's candidate would win the soon-to-be vacant position of UN secretary general, despite a crowded field of candidates that includes India's nominee Shashi Tharoor.

Thailand's nominee, former foreign minister and current deputy Prime Minister Surakiart Sathirathai, is backed by 10 members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), but faces stiff competition in the region.

"Thailand is now accepted among the international community after we have been through the financial crisis," Thaksin told a television programme broadcast to Thais in the United States.

"It is our honour to compete for the post, as no Thai has been named UN secretary general before. As of today I am confident that the Thai candidate will win."

Current Secretary General Kofi Annan steps down at the end of this year, and has said most nations believe his successor should come from Asia, which would satisfy the unwritten rule that the post rotate among the world's regions.

But Thailand's Surakiart faces tough competition from a number of Asian political heavyweights.

Indian candidate Shashi Tharoor, an undersecretary at the United Nations, is also a favourite for the post.

Last month former Malaysian deputy premier Anwar Ibrahim revealed that he had been approached to put himself forward for the post, but said he had not made a decision on his candidacy.

Other top contenders include Sri Lankan presidential adviser Jayantha Dhanapala, South Korean Foreign Minister Ban Ki-Moon, East Timor's Foreign Minister and Nobel peace prize laureate Jose Ramos-Horta and Latvian President Vike Frieberga.