Antonio Guterres, Portugal’s former prime minister, has emerged the unanimous favourite of UN Security Council members to succeed Ban Ki-Moon as the new secretary-general. He became the clear favourite on the sixth secret ballot held today by the UN Security Council. The council is expected to take a formal decision tomorrow and forward Mr. Guterres’ name to the 193-Member General Assembly for final confirmation. Ambassador Vitaly Churkin of Russia, who holds the Security Council presidency for the month, informed the President of the Assembly, Peter Thomson, that the sixth informal “straw poll” for the position of Secretary-General took place earlier today and António Guterres emerged as the unanimous choice among the Council’s 15 members. Ambassador Churkin told President Thomson that the Security Council will meet on 6 October to take a formal vote which is expected to pass by acclamation, the Assembly President said.
Guterres, 66, was the former UN High Commissioner for Refugees from 2005 to 2015. During his tenure with UN refugee agency, Guterres tackled some of the largest displacement crises across the world in decades, particularly conflicts in Syria and Iraq. From 1995 to 2002, Guterres was the prime minister of Portugal. He graduated from the Instituto Superior Tecnico of Portugal with a degree in engineering. He is fluent in Portuguese, English, French and Spanish.
No fewer than eight candidates initially entered the race to succeed Ban Ki Moon, whose term expires at the end of this year. Among them were Igor Luksic, former prime minister of Montenegro, Irina Bokova, former foreign minister of Bulgaria and current chief of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, Danilo Turk, former president of Slovenia. Others are Vesna Pusic, former foreign minister of Croatia, the candidate of the Republic of Macedonia, Dr. Srgjan Kerim, Natalia Gherman, former deputy prime minister of Moldova, Helen Clark, the former prime minister of New Zealand and head of the UN Development Programme.