Helen Clark emerges as bookies' favourite for top job at UN

Punters, John Key back the former PM, but the Security Council will decide.

UK bookmakers William Hill have cut Helen Clark to her shortest odds yet to become UN Secretary General.

In mid-April, after her candidacy was confirmed, William Hill had Ms Clark at Clark was given odds of 7/2, or a 22% chance of winning.

Bulgarian politician and director general of UN agency Unesco, Irina Bokova, was given the same odds.

As head of the UN's development programme, Ms Clark outranks Ms Bokova in the agency's bureaucracy and has a higher profile — but the received wisdom was that UN members would vote for an Eastern European candidate simply because it was that region's "turn" to supply an occupant for the post.

But an effective social media campaign and public "job interview" saw Ms Clark emerge as the 2/1 favourite.

Overnight, William Hill said the New Zealander had received further betting support and was now the odds-on favourite at 6/4.

"Political punters see this contest as a two-horse race with Clark well clear of the field at the moment," William Hill spokesman Graham Sharpe says.

And the second-placed horse is fading on the home straight. Ms Borkova has drifted out from 9/4 to 5/2.

The secretary-general is decided by the five permanent members of the UN Security Council: China (whom visitor John Key expects to back Ms Clark), France, Russia, the UK and the US. Their nominee will be presented to the 193 UN member states for approval.

The Council's decision is expected before December when the incumbent, Ban Ki Moon, is retiring after his second five-year term expires. There is no limit on the number of five-year terms that can be served, but no candidate has stood for more than two.

Tune into NBR Radio’s Sunday Business with Andrew Patterson on Sunday morning, for analysis and feature-length interviews.

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