Former Portuguese PM Guterres set to be next UN chief

Switzerland UNHCR Guterres [File] Antonio Guterres speaks during a news conference at the European headquarters of the United Nations in Geneva | AP

The United Nations Security Council on Wednesday unanimously agreed on supporting former Portugal prime minister Antonio Guterres as the new secretary general of the global organisation.

Guterres, who was the former head of the UN refugee agency, has been chosen for the top job with 15 council members standing behind him. He will take over from Ban Ki-moon in January.

"Today after our sixth straw poll, we have a clear favourite and his name is Antonio Guterres, and we have decided to go for a formal vote tomorrow morning at 10 a.m. EST (1500 GMT) on Thursday and we hope that it can be done by acclamation," Russian UN Ambassador Vitaly Churkin was quoted as saying by reports.

Guterres will have to face a tough time at the UN as the world body is struggling to sort out the crisis in Syria, Yemen and Libya.

Guterres was the prime minister of Portugal from 1995 to 2002.

Born in 1949, Guterres has also served as the president of Socialist International, a worldwide association of political parties from 1999 to 2005. He was the secretary general of the socialist party from 1992 to 2002.

After his tenure as the prime minister of Portugal in May 2005, he was elected as the UN High Commissioner for refugees. He left office in 2015.

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Topics : #United Nations

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