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Kevin 07 downplays UN chances

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A spokesperson for Kevin Rudd has denied widespread reports the former Labor leader is a viable candidate to replace Ban Ki-Moon as UN secretary-general.

Mr Rudd has been quietly campaigning for the role, Fairfax Media had reported.

In a recent interview, the 57-year-old did not deny the claim, which will become vacant in 2016.

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Ban-Ki-Moon-Getty UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon at Climate Week in New York.
Current UN secretary general Ban Ki-Moon. Photo: Getty

The former PM said he was being “utterly pragmatic” about his chances.

“I’m sure across Eastern Europe there are those of more neutral persuasion.”

“Who knows, we are 18 months away from that, but the bottom line is that the overwhelming consensus in the United Nations system is that it’s a rotation to Eastern Europe.

“Therefore it is not applicable to yours truly.”

Former Labor foreign minister and NSW premier Bob Carr said Mr Rudd would lead a formidable campaign for the role, as he did before becoming prime minister in 2007.

Kevin Rudd
Kevin Rudd in Copenhagen. Photo: Getty

He estimated Mr Rudd had a 25 per cent chance at becoming secretary general, adding he was “already a more plausible candidate than his critics in Australia are prepared to believe”.

“He is clearly working this as he worked the caucus ballot that lifted him into the leadership of the ALP; cultivating all the players, presenting his credentials everywhere required,” Mr Carr told Fairfax.

“Obviously the psychological motivation is pretty formidable.”

According to the report, other former Labor colleagues said they had also received calls from the benevolent Queenslander who confirmed his interest in the role.

Mr Rudd has spent the past year at Harvard University and this week published his paper “The Future of U.S.-China Relations Under Xi Jinping”, which, according to the Fairfax report, is seen in diplomatic circles as part of an unofficial job application process.

-with AAP.