Who doesn’t like Ban?

It did not take long after the results from Monday’s straw poll were leaked that speculation became rampant among insiders. South Korea’s Ban Ki Moon‘s results no doubt drew the most speculation: who cast that sole discouraging vote?

Early spec strongly suggested Japan, as Ban’s government strongly opposed a permanent seat for Japan last year and tensions have been high lately between the two governments. Of course, others strongly suspected China of being the lone dissenter, worried that the ROK was too closely aligned with U.S. interests.

But, this is too interesting a race to settle for such obvious speculation… 

James Bone with the London Times offers a tantalizing rumor.

“My sources tell me that one ballot paper had “discourage” votes against all four candidates. Diplomats assume this was [U.S. Ambassador John] Bolton‘s ballot… [This] means that it was Bolton – and not China, for instance – who cast the sole negative vote against South Korean foreign minister Ban Ki-Moon.”

A little fact-checking with an informed source at the UN suggests that this is very plausible, but cannot be confirmed given the anonymity of the vote itself.

In addition to the none-of-the-above ballot, there was reportedly a single ballot with four checkmarks next to “No Opinion.” Speculation among ambassadors is that this ballot was cast by the UK’s Sir Emyr Jones Parry, but that is being denied by unnamed British sources. It might also have been “China, keeping its powder dry,” writes Bone, though “a more likely scenario is that it was a junior council ambassador who just did not have instructions on how to vote.”

But regardless of how you count the votes, Ban secured the encouragement of least two permanent members, a victory no other candidate can claim.

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