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Helen Clark tops UN staff poll

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 4/09/2016

Former New Zealand prime minister Helen Clark may be struggling in her campaign to become the next secretary-general of the United Nations - but the organisation's staff have given her their backing.

She's come out as the preferred candidate for the UN's top job in a poll of staffers.

The survey from Avaaz asked 1000 staff at the UN to name their top three candidates for secretary-general, with Ms Clark getting 439 mentions, ahead of Portugal's Antonio Guterres on 381 and Costa Rican diplomat Christiana Figueres on 340, the Huffington Post reports.

Ms Clark, who currently heads the UN's Development Programme , said she was pleased with the outcome in a Linkedin post.

"The UN's greatest asset is its dedicated staff. The bureaucratic systems don't serve them well," she said promising to build a more responsive UN.

But while the staff may back her, she has lagged in recent official polls of the 15-member Security Council , coming in seventh in the latest.

"I said at the outset that this campaign would be a marathon, not a sprint, and so it has proved to be," Ms Clark said in her post.

Former Portugese prime minister Mr Gutterres remains favourite to replace Ban Ki-Moon later this year.

Prime Minister John Key is continuing to back Miss Clark, who he says could be a compromise candidate if the permanent five countries - the US, UK, France, China and Russia - can't settle on one.

The next Security Council poll will take place on September 9, with a final indicative poll on September 26, before voting proper begins in October.

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