Surakiart’s struggling campaign

Surakiart Sathirathai conducted perhaps the most public campaign for UNSG in the history of the office, bucking almost every tradition associated with the selection. As laudable as the approach, he himself does not seem to have won many converts. Almost everyone I speak with has written off Surakiart’s campaign. A former UN official in Washington described his campaign as “a joke.” A prominent UN correspondent in New York wrote, “I can’t emphasize enough how much opposition is growing in Thailand to Surakiart. The Bangkok papers point out his many flaws, including his lack of multilateral experience.”  Recently, Surakiart has even been pushed to the point of threatening a libel suit against a former ambassador of his own country for dismissing his qualifications for the office.

Despite claims by the campaign to have secured support from 120+ governments, no government outside ASEAN has publicly announced its support, let alone any of the permanent members.

This weekend’s election in Thailand hasn’t helped Surakiart’s campaign. Despite leading his party to victory, Prime Minister Thaksin has announced his resignation. The Thai Parliament will likely meet shortly after the April 23 round of elections to name the next Prime Minister. Surakiart is one of several possible successors to Thaksin, though most bets are currently on other officials.  

Surakiart’s view that the ASEAN endorsement “obliges” him to continue his campaign may be the out they need if his struggling campaign does not turn around soon. If he recognizes this, everyone might be able to “agree” that his more important interest is helping his party’s fix the political mess in Thailand. 

One Response to “Surakiart’s struggling campaign”

  1. […] Update: UNSG.org: says: Almost everyone I speak with has written off Surakiart’s campaign. A former UN official in Washington described his campaign as “a joke.” A prominent UN correspondent in New York wrote, “I can’t emphasize enough how much opposition is growing in Thailand to Suriakart. The Bangkok papers point out his many flaws, including his lack of multilateral experience.”  Recently, Surakiart has even been pushed to the point of threatening a libel suit against a former ambassador of his own country for dismissing his qualifications for the office. […]

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