Ex-Portugese Prime Minister Antonio Guterres favored as next U.N. secretary-general

UNITED NATIONS, Oct. 5 (UPI) — The United Nations Security Council voted Wednesday for former Portugese Prime Minister António Guterres to become the next U.N. secretary-general.

Guterres, who served as prime minister of Portugal from 1995 to 2002 as head of the Socialist Party, was the unanimous choice in a “straw poll” of the 14-member council.

“We have a clear favorite and his name is Antonio Guterres,” Vitaly I. Churkin, the Russian ambassador to the United Nations who is presiding over the Security Council this month, announced. He appeared with other members of the council, including U.S. ambassador Samantha Power.

Guterres also served as the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees from 2005 to 2015.

Guterres’ name will be submitted to the 193-member General Assembly for approval Thursday. If elected, he will succeed Ban Ki-moon, whose second five-year term expires Dec. 31. No secretary-general has held office for more than two terms.

Peter Thomson, president of the General Assembly, said he expected Guterres to be approved by acclamation.

Guterres’ closest rival for the position was considered to be Kristalina Georgieva, a 63-year-old Bulgarian who is the European Commission’s vice president responsible for Budget and Human Resources.

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