Ex-Labour leader in running for top UN post

14th March 2005, Comments 0 comments

14 March 2005, AMSTERDAM — Former Labour PvdA leader Ad Melkert is in the poll position for the post of head of the United Nation's largest development programme, UNDP.

14 March 2005

AMSTERDAM — Former Labour PvdA leader Ad Melkert is in the poll position for the post of head of the United Nation's largest development programme, UNDP.

Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende told RTL News on Friday night that it is always good if the Netherlands is involved in UN projects. "The Netherlands is seen as a reliable partner," he said.

The Dutch Cabinet has nominated Melkert for the position. But opposition will come from Norway, which has nominated its Overseas Development Minister Hilde Frafjord Johnson. Britain has nominated Baroness Valerie Amos, a campaigner for women's rights and the first black leader in the House of Lords.

United Nations diplomats have said that the UN will make public its list of nominations this week. The list is expected to have more than three names because non-European candidates have also been nominated. The diplomats said a decision about the appointment could take weeks, newspaper NRC reported on Saturday.

Melkert resigned as PvdA leader after the disastrous 15 May 2002 elections held in the aftermath of the assassination of Pim Fortuyn earlier that month. Prior to the rise of Fortuyn, Melkert was seen as the logical successor to two-term PvdA Prime Minister Wim Kok.

Serving as an MP, Melkert received death threats after Fortuyn's murder and he and his family were forced into hiding. He was appointed in July 2002 to the World Bank after nomination by the Christian Democrat CDA, Liberal VVD and populist LPF Cabinet.

Melkert entered the Lower House of Parliament as an MP at the age of 30 in 1986. Eight years later he was appointed Social Affairs Minister in the first Kok Cabinet. In 1998, he was appointed PvdA parliamentary leader.
 
RTL reported on Friday night that Melkert has a serious chance of being appointed as UNDB chief. If appointed, he would also serve as one of the UN under-secretaries-general advising UN boss Kofi Annan.

The UN is reportedly keen to make amends with the Netherlands after UNHCR chief and former Dutch prime minister Ruud Lubbers was forced to resign recently over a sexual harassment scandal.

The Netherlands is also one of the largest donors to development assistance, further strengthening Melkert's candidacy.

The UNDP co-ordinates development projects in 166 nations and aims to reduce global poverty by 50 percent by 2015.

[Copyright Expatica News 2005]

Subject: Dutch news

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