Former Portuguese Prime Minister to replace Ban Ki-moon as UN Secretary General

Antonio Guterres will be the next UN chief. Photograph: Salvatore Di Nolfi/AP
Antonio Guterres will be the next UN chief. Photograph: Salvatore Di Nolfi/AP

Portugal’s former Prime Minister Antonio Guterres is poised to become the next UN secretary general, UN diplomats say.

Mr Guterres, 66, was the “clear favourite”, Russia’s UN ambassador Vitaly Churkin announced on Wednesday.

A formal vote will take place in the UN Security Council on Thursday to confirm the choice of nominee.

Mr Guterres, who led the UN refugee agency for 10 years, will take over from Ban Ki-moon early next year.

The 15-member Security Council cast secret ballots for each of the 10 candidates on Wednesday and none were found to oppose Mr Guterres.

They were asked to select from a choice of encourage, discourage or no opinion for each candidate, with the former Portuguese prime minister receiving 13 encourage votes and two no opinion votes.

A formal vote will take place at 1000 EST (1500 BST) on Thursday.

Mr Ban will stand down after ten years at the helm.

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