Ramos-Horta for UNSG…in 2012

Unless the political winds turn sharply against him at home, it appears that Jose Ramos-Horta has dropped out of the race for UNSG this year. But that does not mean he doesn’t see himself in the post eventually.

Ramos-Horta’s political capital is still quite high following the shake-up of the Timor-Leste government, prompting the ruling Fretilin Party to include him on the “short list” of candidates for Prime Minister.

Mr Ramos Horta said he would be prepared to serve beyond 2007 – potentially running for president – but ruled himself out of the race to become the next United Nations secretary-general for which he has been mentioned.

“I can wait five years if I am really interested in the job in 2012. I would be interested in that,” he said.

“What notice would be taken of the secretary-general if I abandoned my own country in its time of need?”

Presuming a continuation of the regional rotation practice and the UNSG’s traditional two terms, it will still be “Asia’s turn” in 2012. But, as in 1996, the region’s turn does not necessarily correspond with the officerholder’s period of service. If Ramos-Horta, who was reportedly on the U.S. shortlist this year, does decide to challenge the Asian incumbent in five years, the intra-regional rivalies this year may be only a preview of the race in 2011.

Update: Ramos-Horta has been chosen as the new Prime Minister of Timor-Leste. He will serve until parliamentary elections are held in 2007.

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