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Tharoor steps out of the race for UN top slot

With South Korea's Ban Ki-Moon all set to step into Kofi Annan's shoes as UN Secretary General, Shashi Tharoor has withdrawn from the race.

October 3, 2006

Shashi Tharoor photoWith South Korea's Foreign Minister, Ban Ki-Moon very close to being the next United Nations Secretary General, India's Shashi Tharoor has decided to withdraw. Ban Ki-Moon, 62, won the fourth and final straw poll held on Monday. Ban had won the previous three straw polls as well.

In the Security Council straw poll, Ban got 14 positive votes with one member who decided to abstain. All the permanent members with veto rights, voted in favour of Ban which virtually ensures that he will win the formal vote that will be held on October 9. The member who abstained from voting was a non-permanent member.

According to Reuters, South Korea's campaign was expensive, with reports of pledges of aid, and extensive traveling across the globe. According to the Times, London, South Korea had offered "inducements ranging from tens of millions of pounds of extra funding for African countries to lucrative trade agreements in Europe - and even the gift of a grand piano to Peru."

Shashi Tharoor, the UN Under-Secretary General for Communications and Public Information, received ten positive votes, three negative votes, while two abstained. One negative vote was cast by a permanent member with veto rights. Tharoor came second in all the straw polls.

Tharoor, also a novelist, has written to Ban congratulating him and said that Ban was going to be the next UN Secretary General.

Sri Lankan candidate Jayantha Dhanapala, also withdrew from the race. Dhanapala had received only three positive votes in the fourth straw poll. 

The other candidates who also had got negative votes from more than one permanent member included Latvian President Vaira Vike-Freiberga, deputy premier in the ousted Thai government Surakiart Sathirathai, Jordan's UN ambassador Prince Zeid al-Hussein and Afghanistan's former finance minister Ashraf Ghani.

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