Portuguese ex-PM to be the new UN chief

Portugal's former prime minister Antonio Guterres. Photo: AFP   | Photo Credit: KENA BETANCUR

Former Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Guterres is poised to be the next United Nations Secretary-General and is expected to be formally recommended to the 193-member General Assembly for election by the Security Council on Thursday, diplomats said.

Russia’s UN Ambassador Vitaly Churkin, president of the 15-member council for October, said he hoped the council would unanimously recommend Mr. Guterres, who was also the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees from June 2005 to December 2015. Mr. Guterres will replace Ban Ki-moon of South Korea, who will step down at the end of 2016 after serving two terms.

“Today after our sixth straw poll we have a clear favourite and his name is Antonio Guterres,” Mr. Churkin told reporters with his 14 council colleagues standing behind him on Wednesday.

The Security Council will adopt a resolution, traditionally behind closed doors, recommending that the General Assembly appoint Mr. Guterres for a five-year term from Jan. 1, 2017. The resolution needs nine votes in favour and no vetoes to pass.

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