Portugal's Guterres poised to be next UN Secretary

António Guterres, a former Portuguese prime minister who is all but certain to become the next United Nations secretary-general, was welcomed by United Nations insiders with a degree of elation not seen since one of their own, Kofi Annan, rose through the ranks to become the world's top diplomat.

"After five straw polls taking place previously with Antonio Guterres coming out in front, this was the first straw poll where there were coloured ballot papers to represent the five permanent members of the Security Council", Al Jazeera's James Bays explained from the UN.

"An agreement has been reached".

Mr Guterres, who ran the United Nations refugee agency for 10 years, had been the clear front-runner, and was apparently the unanimous choice of the otherwise deeply divided Security Council.

Miss Clark, who finished equal seventh in the fifth security council poll late last month, said Mr Guterres would do a good job in the coveted role.

The former Portuguese prime minister, 67, led the country from 1995 to 2002. The resolution needs at least nine votes in favor and no vetoes to pass.

Russia's United Nations ambassador, Vitaly Churkin, made the announcement that Mr Guterres was the "clear favorite" and said a formal vote would be held on Thursday morning.

For the past decade, Guterres has served as the UN High Commissioner for Refugees.

Throughout the election, there was mass vocal support from outside and within the United Nations to have a woman succeed Ki-moon as secretary-general, an attempt to advance gender equality in one of the world's most high-profile leadership positions.

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Guterres had emerged as the front-runner from the first straw polls that began in July. Admittedly, when America and Russian Federation are at loggerheads over such matters as Syria, it is exceedingly hard for a United Nations secretary-general to make peace.

The former World Bank vice president received eight negative votes including two from veto-holding members, five positive votes including two from the permanent council members and two "no opinion".

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 1 January 2017.

Russia's Vitaly Churkin said that will be formalised very soon.

Rival Kristalina Georgieva was nominated after the last vote, but it was too late.

"Fourteen men on the Security Council, and one woman, Samantha Power, just couldn't envision a woman at the top", she said.

Thirteen countries encouraged his candidacy and none discouraged it - making him the clear victor of a process which began publicly in April.

The announcement was made at the end of a Security Council session at which the sixth vote to select a successor to Ban Ki-moon was held.

  • Sonia Alvarado