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ACABQ Race Might Have Eritrea and Kelapile, US in ECOSOC Clean Slate

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, November 7 -- With presidential elections in the UN's Host Country over, attention turns to a more nitty gritty, follow the money race, for seats on the UN's Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions, which produces analysis of UN budget proposals.

  Three months ago Inner City Press first reported on the contest among candidates from Botswana - the incumbent chair of ACABQ Collen Kelapile - Eritrea and Kenya.

  The assumption was that only one of these three could get in. Kelapile and his supporters argue, rightly, that he has experience, having been vice-chair for two years under the US's Susan McClurg, then the last two years as chair.

  This week, in order to make up for analysis time lost during the shutdown of the UN by Super Storm Sandy, ACABQ under Kelapile is working from 10 am to 2 pm, and 3 pm to 8 or 9.

  Eritrea had continued to insist that it won the endorsement not only of the African Union but also the "East Africans," and that it gave up claims on a vice presidency of the General Assembly, which Kenya got. Now Kenya is in the running for the ACABQ seat.

  Eritrea is under UN sanctions (though it has contested the work of former sanctions group chief Matt Bryden); Kelapile is said to have garnered substantial support in the Western European and Other group.

  From West Africa, candidates from Benin and Senegal are running. Since rotation and intra-regional deals are not binding, some are predicting that Kelapile and Eritrea could win.

  Meanwhile for the November 8 ECOSOC election, the United States which often speaks out against "clean slates" without competition -- has just that. But it faces a more dificult race for the Human Rights Council. More on that anon. Watch this site.

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