Barry Soper: Helen Clark's strong case for UN's top job

Helen Clark was devastated when she lost her beloved Prime Minister's job to John Key in 2008, resigning the Labour Party leadership on the same night.

The woman who insists on being referred to as Miss, went off to London with her husband to lick her wounds.

She hates to lose at anything.

While she was in Britain someone drew her attention to a situations vacant ad in one of the financial papers.

It was for the head of the United Nations Development Programme, which up until then she didn't know much about.

She applied and got the job and has been living in the Big Apple and working in her office at the Trump Tower ever since.

Clark clearly likes long apprenticeships because she spent about the same time as Labour leader before becoming Prime Minister here as she has done at the UN before stepping up to become its boss, or so she hopes.

Today she made her so called Town Hall pitch for her boss Ban Ki Moon's job, along with nine other formidable candidates, and in her usual style refused to be intimidated, even if at times she did look a little anxious, and who wouldn't when they're vying for the world's top diplomatic post?

They made their bids in the cavernous General Assembly Hall before a crowd of invitees who'll have nothing to do with who gets the job later this year.

Still it's a first for the UN who've always chosen their Secretaries General away from the public glare, behind the all powerful Security Council's closed doors.

Clark was the most animated when she was asked whether it should be Eastern Europe's turn to occupy the office on the 38th floor of the UN building, as convention would have it.

There are eight candidates from the Eastern bloc, but she was adamant the candidate should be chosen on talent rather than geography.

The Security Council will now retire, a bit like a Papal conclave, and take a straw poll in just over a week's time of who should remain in the race.

Those who fail to make the grade will be discouraged from continuing with their bid.

Judging by Clark's performance and the audience enthusiasm for her, she won't be one of them.

- NZ Herald

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