A Thai Race?

Less than 24 hours after reporting that the U.S. was quietly encouraging Surin Pitsuwan, Thailand’s former Foreign Minister, to enter the race, The Nation is now suggesting there is yet another Thai candidate whom the P-5 wish would take Surakiart’s place.

“The person right now being most mentioned and most likely to be recruited as UNSG by [the five permanent Security Council members] is Dr Supachai [Panitchpakdi] who is acceptable to all sides, moderate, and the right mix of outsider and insider,” the source said.

Supachai is the secretary-general of the UN Conference on Trade and Development (Unctad). He was previously head of the World Trade Organisation.

So which is it? Pitsuwan or Supachai? 

Pitsuwan, said to be “taking [the rumor] with a big grain of salt,” noted that he had not be approached “directly” by Washington, but has made it known that he wants an international position. Supachai, on the other hand, is reportedly one of the top two candidates to replace Thaksin as interim prime minister. 

The Nation has editoralized against Surakiart, and perhaps these rumors are wishful suggestions on their part. At this point, all that can be said is what has been – that the coup has complicated Surakiart’s campaign. Nonetheless, the interim government is sticking behind Surakiart, having put together a 13-member campaign team to assist him.

In Bangkok, efforts to prevent ex-deputy premier Surakiart Sathirathai’s return to New York and to get Sonthi to distance the Council of Democratic Reform under Constitutional Monarchy (CDRM) from his candidacy, appeared to have failed as the CDRM yesterday issued an order designating Foreign Minister’s deputy permanent-secretary Sihasak Puangketkoew, to be team leader in assisting Surakiart’s campaign.

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