Shashi Tharoor, India's nominee for the next UN secretary-general, has bowed out of the race after South Korean Foreign Minister Ban Ki-Moon emerged a clear winner in the crucial straw poll on Monday. Ban got 14 positive votes in the 15-member Security Council.
Significantly, Ban was the only candidate who did not get a negative vote from any of the Security Council members, including the five veto-wielding nations the US Britain, France, Russia and China. The only member not to endorse Ban's candidature gave a "no opinion" vote.
Tharoor won 10 positive votes, but one of his three negative votes was from a veto power, which put an end to his chances. His tally included two no-opinion votes.
Soon after the result of the informal poll was out, Tharoor wrote to Ban, warmly congratulating him on the outcome. "It is clear that he (Ban) will be our next secretary-general. It is a great honour and a huge responsibility to be secretary-general and I wish Mr Ban every success in that task," Tharoor said in a statement.
An official poll is likely to be held on October 9 in which the Security Council is expected to formalise Ban's nomination, which will then be sent to the 192-member UN General Assembly for approval. As Monday's was a secret ballot, the identity of the veto-wielding member which voted against Tharoor was a subject of speculation. Except for Ban, all the other four contestants got negative votes from one or more veto powers. The US expressed its happiness with the poll outcome. John Bolton, the US representative to the UN, said Washington was happy with the selection of Ban and was pressing the Security Council to wrap up the process early.
Tharoor thanked the Government of India for having nominated him as its official candidate. "Though I have never been an official of the government, I consider it a great honour to have been the bearer of India's nomination, as well as of the hopes and aspirations of so many well-wishers in India and around the world."
Monday's straw poll was the first one to use coloured ballots to distinguish between the votes of the permanent members and the 10 non-permanent members. The former used blue ballots and the latter white ballots.