Surakiart’s campaign survives coup

It appears that Thailand’s Surakiart Sathirathai’s candidacy for UNSG will continue at least until the country’s new government is installed.

Thailand’s Army Commander-in-Chief General Sonthi Boonyaratglin, who led the military coup in the country… said the military government would continue the country’s foreign policy and there would be no change to it.

They also will continue to support Deputy Prime Minister Dr Surakiart Sathirathai’s bid for the UN Secretary-General post end of this year.

Whether the new government will continue the campaign is in no way certain.

“How can you have a candidate who is a representative of a government that no longer exists,” said Thai-language weekly Asian Pacific News Editor Paison Promnui.  

But Surakiart’s politically savvy enough to have spun his candidacy as independent of Thaksin’s fortunes. Earlier this summer, he noted that

“I am an ASEAN candidate, I am not a candidate of Thailand. Leaders of ASEAN have endorsed my candidature in December 2004 and the reason that ASEAN countries decided to put up a candidature early is because we believe in global good governance and transparency. As ASEAN candidate the politics of only one country in ASEAN has no bearing to the candidature as such.”  

So, will Surakiart remain ASEAN’s candidate? Regional observers will be watching closely over the next few days.

“It is therefore not yet appropriate to discuss whether the ASEAN region will put forward another candidate or not,” a [South Korean] government official was quoted as saying by Yonhap News.

Surakiart departed from New York last night, accompanying Prime Minister Thaksin to London. No official statement from his campaign has been made yet.

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