World / Asia-Pacific

Australia declines to nominate Kevin Rudd for UN chief

(Xinhua) Updated: 2016-07-29 14:58

Australia declines to nominate Kevin Rudd for UN chief

Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd reacts as he talks to the media during his election campaign in Sydney, Sept 5, 2013. [Photo/Agencies]

SYDNEY - Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull on Friday declared that former premier Kevin Rudd would not be nominated by his government to be the next UN secretary-general, declining to endorse him and declaring him unfit for the job.

"The fundamental threshold point is this: does the government believe, do we believe, do I as Prime Minister believe Mr Rudd is well suited for that role?" Turnbull told reporters. "My considered judgement is he is not."

The decision by Turnbull on Friday effectively crushed Rudd's hopes of nabbing the post after he spent months lobbying for government support.

Without the backing of the Turnbull government, Rudd, the former prime minister of the opposition center-left Labor Party, cannot run for the next UN chief.

Rudd had hoped Australia's conservative government would take the crucial step of formally nominating him to succeed UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon when Ban's second five-year term ends on Dec 31.

Local political analysts believe the rejection is a bid to appease the conservative wing of his ruling Liberal-National Coalition Party following a very close national election.

The opposition Labor Party said the decision will boil down to petty party politics.

"Malcolm Turnbull should have the courage to stare down the extremists in his own party and put the national interests first instead of putting his factional fears above the national interest," acting opposition leader Tanya Plibersek said following Turnbull, delaying the decision after a robust cabinet meeting on Thursday.

Questions over Rudd's candidacy and likely failed bid would have persisted in any case as the UN secretary general's position is usually rotated through regional blocks. Many inside the UN believe the position should go to someone from Eastern Europe, while there are others who believe it is now time for a woman to take the top post.

A final nominee will not emerge before October once the UN Security Council offers its candidate to the General Assembly for consideration.

The Security Council is set to hold its second straw poll next week, which had strong support for former Portuguese PM Antonio Guterres. There currently 12 contenders vying for the post, with six being female, and eight from Eastern Europe.

Australia will consider its position with respect to other candidates, including compromise contender, former New Zealand PM Helen Clark in due course, Turnbull said.

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