New Zealand’s Helen Clark enters race to lead UN

Helen Clark, former Prime Minister of New Zealand and current Administrator of the United Nations Development Program, speaks during an interview in New York. (Reuters)

New Zealand’s former prime minister Helen Clark has announced her candidacy to be the next UN secretary-general, aiming to become the first woman to lead the world body.

“I am putting myself forward based on proven leadership experience over close to three decades, both in my own country and here at the United Nations,” Ms Clark said, ending months of speculation.

“I do think I have the experience and the attributes to do this job.”

The search for a successor to Ban Ki-moon comes at a time of high anxiety in global affairs as the United Nations grapples with the biggest refugee crisis since World War II and raging conflicts in the Middle East and Africa.

Other than Ms Clark, seven candidates, including three women, are vying for the top job.

The candidates include UNESCO chief Irina Bokova of Bulgaria and the former high commissioner for refugees, Antonio Guterres of Portugal.

New Zealand Prime Minister John Key formally put forward Ms Clark as the country’s candidate at a press conference in Wellington on Monday.

“Having served as the prime minister of New Zealand for nine years and held one of the top jobs in the United Nations for the past seven, Helen Clark has the right mix of skills and experience for the job,” Mr Key said.

“There are major global challenges facing the world today and the United Nations needs a proven leader who can be pragmatic and effective.

“Coming from New Zealand, Helen Clark is well placed to bridge divisions and get results. She is the best person for the job.”

Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:48 - GMT 06:48