Opinion: Why Helen Clark should get the job

Helen Clark (AAP)
Helen Clark (AAP)

Nothing surprises me about Helen Clark's bid for the top UN job. If the appointment is on merit, she will get it.

But of course it never is. It's a job go-round and whose turn is it now?

Crucially she may get public support from the United States. It wants the UN reformed and Ms Clark may promise that.

So here are five reasons why she could get the job:

1. She has done eight years at the UN already and knows the halls of power and the people of influence. 2. The UN is keen for a woman to be its next leader. 3. She has enormous networks of international contacts -- more than we know -- who rate her and want her in the job. 4. She is hugely pragmatic and brilliant at the art of compromise; more than anything this is how the UN works. 5. She travels extensively in her current job and can now spend a year campaigning on the global and cocktail circuit.

Here are two reasons why she may not get it:

1. It's the turn of the eastern Europeans to run the UN. 2. Russia doesn't want Ms Clark.

Over my 17 years in the parliamentary press gallery I got to know Ms Clark well. She is the most consummate, professional and ruthless politician I have met.

The UN needs a modern leader who can communicate, and she is that person.

But politics is at play here, and so are country blocs. Russia and the US hold the key here and may yet veto each other's favoured candidate. 

Russia is backing Irina Bokova, who also has an impressive international record. But if it's on merit, Ms Clark should win this.

She may need to get into an ugly, country versus country, diplomat versus diplomat, political dogfight behind the scenes. 

On that, I'd also back her to win. She's got into backroom dust-ups her whole political career. It's game on.