HL Zimbabwe"s foreign minister leads race for U.N. chief job
Byline: By Olivia Ward Toronto Star DD 11/13/91
SO Toronto Star (TOR)
Origin: UNITED NATIONS
LP --- Zimbabwe"s foreign minister leads race for U.N. chief job --- UNITED NATIONS - Zimbabwe"s Finance Minister Bernard Chidzero is now in the lead after the U.N. Security Council"s latest straw poll to pick a secretary-general. TX Chidzero won 11 votes yesterday, drawing no vetoes from the powerful five permanent members - the United States, Soviet Union, China, France and Britain. But the poll, held after hours of deliberation last night, showed that three of the permanent members abstained rather than voting for Chidzero, putting his bid on ultimately shaky ground. Diplomats leaving the closed-door meeting grumbled that the vote had accomplished little beyond making it clear that new names must be introduced in a future poll, likely to be held before the end of November. Council members had wrangled for two days over a new procedure that was supposed to narrow the field of 14 candidates, by having permanent and non-permanent members vote on different colored ballots. "No" votes by the permanent members would be taken as vetoes, indicating that candidates should be eliminated. But, said a Belgian diplomat, "We cannot force anyone to withdraw. We hope some candidates will take the hint from the results." Under U.N. rules, the 15 council members select a secretarygeneral, and the choice is approved by the General Assembly. The election must take place before the end of this year, when Javier Perez de Cuellar retires. Chidzero, who was educated at McGill, is married to a Quebecer and speaks English and French fluently - meeting France"s requirements for a new U.N. chief. But although his economic expertise is respected, critics say he has little experience in international negotiation. Close behind him was Egyptian Deputy Prime Minister Boutros Ghali, with 10 votes and no vetoes. A third African candidate, Olusegun Obasanjo, a former Nigerian leader, won eight votes, but was vetoed by a permanent council member. Which one was not revealed. The council has been deadlocked over a division between the western and non-aligned nations over election of an African candidate. The African countries, backed by the non-aligned nations, insist it is their turn for the top U.N. post, and together carry eight votes on the council. But although the western countries do not openly oppose the idea, the United States has quietly indicated it prefers a non-African. China, on the other hand, has vowed to veto any non-African, and yesterday"s poll shows that the only non-African candidate to * emerge unscathed was U.N. humanitarian envoy Prince Sadruddin Aga Khan. * With Aga Khan frowned upon by the United States and Britain for his views on boosting aid to Iraq, he is unlikely to win the race. Dutch Foreign Minister Hans van den Broek led the pack of European candidates with five votes, but drew a veto - indicating that China would probably oppose him.
ILLUSTRATION: photo: BERNARD CHIDZERO: Contender for top U.N. job studied in Canada.
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