Pole Position

Kofi Anan’s career as United Nations General Secretary will come to a full stop at the end of next year.

Action behind the scenes to find a successor has been taking place and some interesting rumours are flying about the future of a certain European ex-Communist:

Diplomatic Warsaw is abuzz with rumours that Mr Kwasniewski, a smooth, tennis-playing, polyglot who is seen as one of the champions of New Europe, won US backing on a visit to the White House earlier this month.

Certainly President Bush gave him a glowing public testimonial. “Aleksander has helped to advance the cause of peace by advancing the cause of freedom,” the US leader said.

President Kwasniewski has let slip to friends that he could imagine living in New York. He has slimmed down, is permanently suntanned and at the relatively young age of 50, with a full decade of having been President behind him, believes that a United Nations career could beckon, rather than the alternative of staying at home and founding a new, genuinely social democratic party to build up the Centre Left.