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UNSC to hold more straw polls

india Updated: Sep 13, 2006 15:36 IST
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The UN Security Council will hold two more straw polls this month as it continues the process of selection of the next Secretary-General with a new Fiji nominee seeking to join the fray which will take the number of contestants for the world's top diplomatic post to six, including Indian candidate Shashi Tharoor.

The Council is examining the papers submitted by Nirj Deva, a British national of Sri Lankan origin, who has been nominated by Fiji.

But immediately after his nomination was known, both British and Sri Lankan diplomats emphasised that he was not their candidate. Sri Lanka has its own candidate Jayantha Dhanapala.

After an informal closed door meeting of the Council on Wednesday, Council President Ambassador Adamantios Vassilakis of Greece said the first straw poll this month will be held on September 14 and next "possibly" on September 28.

Replying to questions, Vassilakis said the first straw poll will be just like the one held in July in which both permanent and non-permanent members were given ballot of the same colour and thus it could not be known if any permanent veto wielding member voted against a particular candidate.

The procedure was the subsequent straw poll, he said, is yet to be decided.

However, diplomats said possibly in that poll, permanent or non-permanent members would be given ballots of different colours which would make it clear if any candidate has a veto against him.

The final selection poll is expected early in October.

Vassilakis said the Council took the decision for the straw poll as there are now five candidates and "possibly a sixth."

Asked why "possibly," he said it is because the Council was still examining Deva's papers.

The Council President said there was confusion as the papers have not been submitted to the Council by (Fiji) Mission to the United Nations which is the proper procedure.

"There should be a letter of foreign minister (nominating the candidate) and then the Mission should send another letter to the President of the Council submitting the letter of foreign minister. We did not have that," he added.

The letter was from the foreign ministry but was submitted by the candidate himself.

"That needs to be clarified," Vassilakis said. Besides, there were some mistakes in the letter from the Fijian foreign ministry, he added. Asked what the mistakes were, he replied, "The President of the Council is not the Danish Ambassador."

Besides, Tharoor and Dhanapala, the other candidates are Jordanian Prince Zeid Hussein, South Korea's Foreign Minister Ban Ki-moon and Thailand Deputy Prime Minister Surakiart Suthirathai.

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