Former New Zealand PM Helen Clark bids for UN top job

Former New Zealand PM Helen Clark

Former New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark is one of nine candidates competing to replace Ban Ki-moon as the United Nations’ Secretary-General, when he steps down at the end of 2016.

The Security Council is holding a series of secret ballots to elect a new U.N. chief, with the next one due on Monday (September 26).

Of the nine candidates standing, five are men and four are women.

Clark, who heads the U.N. Development Programme, officially submitted her nomination for the 2016 United Nations Secretary-General selection with current New Zealand Prime Minister, John Key, throwing his full support behind her.

Former Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Guterres currently leads the race, with Slovakia’s Foreign Minister Miroslav Lajcak hanging on to second spot in the most recent ballot on September 9.

Civil society groups and nearly a third of the 193 U.N. member states, have pushed for the first woman secretary-general. Four of those countries – Japan, Spain, Uruguay and Venezuela – are in the Security Council.

Clark became the 37th Prime Minister of New Zealand and the first woman elected at a General Election as New Zealand’s Prime Minister in 1999.

She served three consecutive terms as prime minister from 1999 to 2008, the fifth longest serving prime minister of New Zealand.

Clark’s government was defeated by John Key at the 2008 General Election and Clark subsequently resigned as leader of the Labour Party and in April 2009 resigned from her electorate of Mount Albert.

On the 17th April 2009, Clark was appointed as Administrator of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP).

In 2014, Forbes ranked her as the 23rd most powerful woman in the world.

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