Wednesday, June 21, 2006
The race to be UN chief
India has announced it's support for the candidature of Shashi Tharoor. Dr. Tharoor is a career bureaucrat and presently an under Secretary General at the UN. The suave, well-read and well-written Tharoor seems to be an eminent choice for this post. However as in all political appointment, you only need to satisfy a base level of qualification. The rest depends on who you know.
Tharoor has certainly got a good chance or else he would not have contested. He faces stiff opposition from a previous ambassador of Sri Lanka, present deputy prime minister of Thailand and also other strong contenders who are yet to decide.
The factors going for him are his impressive credentials and experience of work in UN, the unwritten rule in UN of the secretary to be from Asia this time and his relative youth.
But some of them can also work against him. He might seem too young to be the Secretary General (perhaps, the highest post he may reach) at 50. He is also associated with Kofi Annan and this might displease the US.
Some other factors include him being backed by India and it is again an unwritten rule that the Secretary General should normally be from a minor country so as to avoid any bias. There would be an instinctive reaction from Pakistan against him.
The contest is going to be very interesting and lot would depend on the 5 permanent members of the Security Council. Tharoor certainly has a good chance but in the end, he has nothing to lose even if he doesnt make it.
We will get to know either way by mid-july.