Portugal’s ex-PM Antonio Guterres to become next UN secretary general

Antonio Guterres, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), arrives for a news conference at the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland December 18, 2015. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse/File photo TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY

Portugal’s former prime minister, Antonio Guterres, has consolidated a strong lead in the race to become the next United Nations secretary general, after a third security council secret ballot on Monday.

UN Security Council held third secret ballot on Monday in which Guterres received maximum votes among the ten candidates.

Diplomats said that only a decisive stand by Russia, which has argued that the job should go to an eastern European, could now stop Guterres succeeding Ban Ki-moon in the UN’s top job. A fourth straw poll is expected in September in the hope that a consensus forms around a winner by October.

Russia and the four other permanent council members – the US, UK, France and China – all have the power to block a candidacy. Although this secretary-general race has been far more open than previous contests, the winner will still have to be agreed by the five permanent members, as before.