Former Australian prime minister drops bid to lead United Nations

WASHINGTON, July 30 (UPI) — Former Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has withdrawn his bid to become secretary-general of the United Nations after the current prime minister opted not to back him for the job.

Amid accusations of partisanship, Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said the government would not support Rudd’s bid for the position because he believes his predecessor is unfit for the job, the Australian Broadcast Corporation reported.

Rudd, who was not seen as a favorite to replace UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, released letters last week claiming Turnbull had supported him for the job as recently as last December. That support had disappeared by May, according to a letter expressing shock the prime minister was no longer planning to nominate him for secretary-general.

In a statement, Rudd said a nomination “would have reflected well on what our nation can offer to the world,” adding that “it would have been the first time in the United Nation’s 70 year history that Australia offered a candidate for UN Secretary-General.”

Turnbull was accused of favoring party politics over policy when he officially announced the government would not support Rudd as a nominee for secretary-general. The decision followed the first meeting of the Federal Cabinet since Turnbull retained his job in Australian elections.

“Malcolm Turnbull’s actions are pathetic — they’re disappointing,” opposition leader Bill Shorten, who lost the election to Turnbull, said. “He’s not the person I thought he would be when he became Prime Minister. Mr. Turnbull, in his first action since getting re-elected, has squibbed the chance to be a leader for all Australians, and all he’s trying is to paper over the divisions in the Liberal Party.”

Rudd would have been the 13th candidate nominated to take over for Ki-moon, whose term ends on December 31. Ki-moon has been secretary-general since 2007, and was elected to a second term running the international organization in 2011.

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