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UN leader's comments raise hope for Clark

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 17/08/2016

A comment by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon that it's time a woman held the job has raised hopes that Helen Clark's bid to succeed him is still alive.

The former New Zealand prime minister has done poorly in two straw polls by the 15-member Security Council, which will recommend a candidate to the General Assembly.

In the most recent poll she was seventh out of 12 candidates, having slipped from sixth place.

The next straw poll is on August 29.

Mr Ban is reported to have said it's "high time" for a woman to lead the UN.

"We have many distinguished and eminent women leaders in national governments and other organisations," he said.

"Why not in the UN?"

Labour's foreign affairs spokesman, David Shearer, says Mr Ban's support for a woman candidate means there's "a real chance" Miss Clark could succeed.

"But that depends on what happens between Russia and the United States," he said, referring to the two permanent members of the Security Council.

"That's the big game in town.

"If they can't agree on an eastern European candidate, which the Russians are pushing very hard on, then they will be looking around for someone who can satisfy both camps and that's where her chance lies."

Prime Minister John Key says he hopes Mr Ban's comments will help Miss Clark, but he's doubtful about where it will have much of an impact.

"There are other women in the race, I don't know it changes too much," he said.

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