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Montenegrin Diplomat Withdraws From UN Leadership Race

Montenegro's Foreign Minister Igor Luksic has withdrawn from the race to be the next United Nations secretary-general, leaving 10 candidates vying to succeed Ban Ki-moon.

Luksic, who sent a letter to UN members announcing his withdrawal on August 23, had come in last in a straw poll of UN members on candidates hoping to replace Ban, whose term expires on December 31.

By tradition, the world's top diplomatic post has rotated among regions. Asia, Africa, Latin America, and Europe have all held the job. Eastern European nations, including Russia, argue that they have never had a secretary-general and it is their turn.

There has also never been a woman secretary-general and a group of 56 nations is campaigning to select a female.

In his letter, Luksic said "for the sake of equal ownership of all the regions within the UN I hope the Eastern European argument will prevail when it comes to the final decision."

In the straw poll, Portugal's former Prime Minister Antonio Guterres was leading other announced candidates.

Based on reporting by AP

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