Former Australian leader wants nomination for UN top job

CANBERRA: Former Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has asked the government to nominate him for the United Nations top job, the foreign minister said on Monday.

Julie Bishop said Rudd wanted the government's endorsement to succeed U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, whose second five-year term ends Dec. 31.

That decision would be made by Australia's next cabinet, which will be named Monday following July 2 elections.

"Kevin Rudd has requested that the Australian government nominate him and, as the prime minister has indicated on a number of occasions, that will be a matter for the cabinet," Bishop told Sky News TV.

Rudd, the New York-based president of the Asia Society Policy Institute, was elected prime minister in 2007, but was dumped by his own center-left Labor Party in 2010.

He was dubbed Recycled Rudd when he regained the control of the chaotic and divided government weeks before it lost elections in 2013.

The 58-year-old has been canvasing diplomatic support around the world for months, although Bishop has become the first to confirm his plans to be a candidate.

But several lawmakers in Australia's conservative government are openly hostile toward his bid.

"Kevin was never happy just running Australia — he believed he was always destined to run the world," Immigration Minister Peter Dutton said in April. "Kevin's ego makes (presumptive Republican presidential nominee) Donald Trump's look like a rounding error."

Rudd used an interview with Indian's The Hindu newspaper in April to talk down his chances of getting the job, but did not deny he was interested in trying.

"My own view is that we are likely to have a U.N. secretary-general from East Europe this time, and that view hasn't changed," Rudd said.

"Last I looked, my name is not Rudovich," he said.

Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade had advised the government that Rudd's chances would be harmed if he did not gain the crucial nomination by the end of July, The Australian newspaper reported Monday.

The department did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Monday.

Rudd is a Chinese-speaking former diplomat who served as Australia's foreign minister between his stints as prime minister. He was a polarizing figure within his government, with some former ministers swearing they would never work with his again because of his chaotic management style.