Australian ex-PM Kevin Rudd seeks endorsement for UN top job

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Canberra, July 18 (IANS) Former Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has formally approached the federal government for support in his bid to become the next UN secretary-general, Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said on Monday.

The former Labour Prime Minister will need the support of the Turnbull coalition government in order to formally lodge his application with incumbent Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Xinhua news agency reported.

Bishop said Rudd, Prime Minister of Australia twice between 2007 and 2013, had approached the government for endorsement, but a decision will only be made on the back of cabinet meetings expected to be held both this and next week.

“Rudd has requested that the government nominate him and as (Malcolm Turnbull) has indicated on a number of occasion that will be a matter for the cabinet,” Bishop said.

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“I’ll certainly put the matter forward.”

Rudd could face a challenge in garnering the support of staunch conservatives within the Liberal Party. Many have held reservations about endorsing the former Labour leader for such a prestigious position.

Earlier this year, Immigration Minister Peter Dutton said it would be senseless to nominate someone with an ego that “makes Donald Trump look like a rounding error”, while conservative backbencher Cory Bernardi urged the government to not endorse an “unstable megalomaniac” like Rudd.

Australians, too, are split on whether or not Rudd would make a good candidate for the position of the UN Secretary-General. A Lowy Institute poll found 46 per cent believe the former Prime Minister would be a good choice, while 49 per cent did not.

If nominated, Rudd will be up against a number of other candidates, including former New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark, who is one of the favourites to take over from Ban Ki-moon when he retires later this year.

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Ban’s successor will assume the secretary-general post on January 1, 2017.



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