Straw polls show Tharoor still trailing

United Nations, Sept 29 | Updated: Sep 30 2006, 05:30am hrs
Indian nominee Shashi Tharoors quest for the post of UN secretary general got tougher after he failed to get the requisite nine votes needed in the third straw poll. He remained behind South Korean foreign minister Ban Ki-Moon.

Tharoor lost two positive votes, managing only eight against ten he received in the earlier straw polls.

Ban, a close ally of the Bush administration, too lost one vote which shifted to no opinion but still had 13 positive votes, thus he increasing his lead over Tharoor .

It was yet unclear whether one negative vote against Ban was by a veto wielding permanent members but most diplomats speculated that it was perhaps a non-permanent member from Asia.

A candidate needs a minimum nine votes with no veto in the 15-member Security Council to be recommended to the 192-member General Assembly which formally elects the secretary general. But under the charter, the Assembly can vote only on the candidate reommended by the Council.

Positions will become clear on Monday when the permanent members are given different colour ballots. Except Ban and Tharoor, who maintained his second position, the other five, diplomats, say, seem to be out of reckoning at present. But things could change quickly and upset all calculations should Ban attract a veto.