World

Portugal’s Antonio Guterres Poised to be Next UN Chief

Antonio Guterres pauses during a news conference for the launch of the Global Humanitarian Appeal 2016 at the United Nations European headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland December 7, 2015. Credit: Reuters/Denis Balibouse

Antonio Guterres pauses during a news conference for the launch of the Global Humanitarian Appeal 2016 at the United Nations European headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland December 7, 2015. Credit: Reuters/Denis Balibouse

UN: Former Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Guterres is poised to become the next UN Secretary-General after none of the five UN Security Council veto powers voted against him in a sixth secret ballot on Wednesday, diplomats said.

The 15-member Security Council cast secret ballots for each of the 10 candidates with the choices of encourage, discourage or no opinion. Guterres received 13 encourage votes and two no opinion votes.

“Today after our sixth straw poll we have a clear favorite and his name is Antonio Guterres,” Russian UN Ambassador Vitaly Churkin told reporters with his 14 council colleagues standing behind him.

“We have decided to go to a formal vote tomorrow morning at 10 o’clock, and we hope it can be done by acclamation,” said Churkin, who is council president for October.

For Guterres to be formally recommended to the 193-member General Assembly for election, the Security Council still needs to adopt a resolution behind closed doors. The resolution needs at least nine votes in favor and no vetoes to pass.