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Helen Clark slips in UN top job race

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 10/09/2016 Peter Mitchell, NZN US Correspondent and Karen Sweeney

Helen Clark © REUTERS/Mike Segar Helen Clark Former New Zealand prime minister Helen Clark has suffered another blow in her campaign to head the United Nations after dropping a place in the Security Council's latest secret ballot. 

Miss Clark came in eighth in Friday's fourth straw poll for the next secretary-general, one place lower than the previous two polls.

The established frontrunner, former Portuguese prime minister Antonio Guterres, came out on top again.

While the vote could swing drastically in the final days with the Security Council's permanent members - the US, Russia, China, France and Britain - holding vetoes that could strike Mr Guterres and other favourites out, Miss Clark's slip in the standings is a setback to her campaign.

She was given six "encourage", seven "discourage" and two "no opinion" votes.

In the only positive sign, in the third poll she had six "encourage", eight "discourage" and one "no opinion".

Russia has been lobbying strongly for an eastern European candidate so could eliminate Mr Guterres with their veto, while other nations, including the US, are believed to be pushing for the next UN secretary-general to be a woman. In the first poll Miss Clark came sixth and in the second and third polls she fell to seventh.

With the drop to eighth, she trails Mr Guterres, Slovakia's Foreign Minister Miroslav Lajcak in second place, former Serbian foreign minister Vuk Jeremic in third, former Macedonian foreign minister Srgjan Kerim in fourth, UNESCO director-general Irina Bokova of Bulgaria fifth, former Slovenian president Danilo Turk sixth and Argentinian Foreign Minister Susana Malcorra in seventh.

A fifth Security Council vote will be held on September 26, with the plan to recommend a consensus candidate to the 193-member UN General Assembly in October. Former Australian prime minister Kevin Rudd had lobbied to be part of the race, but he failed to secure Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull's support.

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