Mathias Cormann’s bid to become next secretary-general of the OECD has gone into extra time with the contest too close to call just yet.
Australia’s former finance minister and former European Union trade commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom from Sweden are the final two left in the race.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said Mr Cormann had great support in his quest for the job.
“It’s in extra time, it is into golden point,” he said in Sydney on Friday.
“It’s a very important role.
“The OECD brings together like-minded countries from all around the world.”
- Cormann insists he ‘always’ backed climate-change action
- Former finance minister defends climate-change record amid rising backlash
Mr Cormann this week said he would pursue an ambitious and “global” approach to help countries become carbon-neutral by 2050.
But about 30 Australian and global charities and research institutions recently signed a letter urging the Paris-based organisation to drop Mr Cormann from the race, saying he had a public record of “thwarting effective climate action”.
Ms Malmstrom would be the OECD’s first female head if successful.
As EU commissioner, she called on European countries to be more ambitious on issues such as climate change and pushed for greater environmental safeguards in trade agreements.
The successful candidate chosen by the 37 member states will take over from secretary-general Angel Gurria for a five-year term beginning on June 1.
Britain’s representative to the OECD, Christopher Sharrock, is chairing the committee responsible for selecting the new secretary-general.
The fifth round of confidential negotiations with each member country has just finished.
“The chair has been unable to identify which candidate has the most support,” a statement from Thursday said.
“Further steps will be taken in March, with the aim of concluding the process.”