UN Sees Portugal's Antonio Guterres As Next Secretary-General
Former Prime Minister Antonio Guterres of Portugal-- is poised to be the next U.N Secretary-General and is expected to be formally recommended to the 193-members General Assembly for election by the Security Council on Thursday, diplomats said.
Guterres, 67 year old will be replacing Ban Ki-Moon, 72 year old of Korea who will step down at the end of 2016 after serving two terms. Guterres was the Prime Minister of Portugal from 1995-2002.
Thirteen candidates entered the race, necessitating a series of straw polls held by the Security Council to encourage a thinning of the field and to help to settle on a single candidate.
In every ballot, the 15 Security Council members assessed each candidate by voting either "encourage", "discourage", "no opinion". On this matter, Guterres received 13 "encourage" votes, no "discourage" votes and 2 of "no opinion" votes.
When Guterres spoke to the General Assembly in April, he said he was a candidate for secretary-general because "the best place to address the root cause of human suffering is at the center of the UN system".
Long before his most high-profile global position as the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, which he occupied for two terms between 2005 and 2015 with one extension, he served as Portugal's Socialist Prime Minister.
Guterres was invited to lead the European Commission in1999, but declined citing his commitments at home. He also dealt with a surge of ultra-nationalism at the heart of Europe, in Austria, against which the European Union adopted sanctions in 2000.
Guterres is a trained engineer, who speaks English, French and Spanish in addition to his native Portuguese.
He is also a devout Catholic, spoke about his decade as the U.N refugee chief as "an extraordinary privilege but a terrible frustration because there was no humanitarian solution for their plight"
The U.N Director at Human Rights Watch, Louis Charbonneau said, " Ultimately, the next U.N Secretary-General will be judged on his ability to stand up to the very powers that just selected him, whether on Syria, Yemen, south Sudan, he refugee crisis, climate change or any other problem that comes his way"