Former Prime Minister of Portugal, Antonio Guterres, will succeed Ban Ki Moon as the next UN secretary general, Russia’s UN ambassador Vitaly Churkin announced on Wednesday.
The decision came after none of the five Security Council veto-wielding powers voted against him in a sixth secret ballot on Wednesday. Guterres received 13 encourage votes and two no opinion votes.
“Today, after our sixth straw poll, we have a clear favourite and his name is Antonio Guterres,” Churkin who is council president for October, 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.”
Also, the United Nations (UN) Secretary General Ban Ki-moon saluted the likely nomination of Mr. Guterres as his successor.
“I know Guterres very well and consider it a super choice,” Mr Ban told reporters in Rome after a meeting with the Italian president.
“His experience as Portuguese prime minister, his wide knowledge of world affairs, and his lively intellect will serve him well in leading the United Nations in a crucial period,” Ban added.
The U.N. Security Council is expected to formally nominate Guterres later on Thursday.
If elected, Guterres, who led the UN refugee agency for 10 years, will take over from Ban Ki-moon early next year.
As head of the UN refugee agency from 2005 to 2015, Mr Guterres led the agency through some of the world’s worst refugee crises, including Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq.
Many who expected a woman to emerge as the new Secretary General will be disappointed by this outcome.
The US and UK have also been loud in calling for a woman to take the reins of the UN for the first time, but none so far has held office.
Women who have been speculated for the UN top job but however missed out are; Irina Bokova of Bulgaria, Susana Malcorra of Argentina, Helen Clark of Newzealand, Natalia Gherman of Moldova and Vesna Pusic of Croatia.