Ex-PM of Por­tu­gal in line to be UN sec’y gen­eral

China Daily (USA) - - ACROSS AMERICA -

For­mer Por­tuguese prime min­is­ter An­to­nio Guter­res is poised to be the next United Na­tions Sec­re­tary-Gen­eral and is ex­pected to be for­mally rec­om­mended to the 193-mem­ber Gen­eral Assem­bly for elec­tion by the Se­cu­rity Coun­cil on Thurs­day, diplo­mats said.

Rus­sia’s UN Am­bas­sador Vi­taly Churkin, pres­i­dent of the 15-mem­ber coun­cil for Oc­to­ber, said he hoped the coun­cil would unan­i­mously rec­om­mend Guter­res, who was also the United Na­tions High Com­mis­sioner for Refugees from June 2005 to De­cem­ber 2015.

Guter­res will re­place Ban Ki-moon of South Korea, who will step down at the end of 2016 after serv­ing two terms. Guter­res was prime min­is­ter of Por­tu­gal from 1995 to 2002.

“To­day after our sixth straw poll, we have a clear fa­vorite, and his name is An­to­nio Guter­res,” Churkin told re­porters with his 14 coun­cil col­leagues stand­ing be­hind him on Wed­nes­day.

“We wish Mr. Guter­res well in dis­charg­ing his du­ties as the sec­re­tary-gen­eral of the United Na­tions for the next five years,” Churkin said.

The coun­cil has been hold­ing in­for­mal se­cret bal­lots since July in a bid to reach a con­sen­sus on a can­di­date. Mem­bers had the choices of en­cour­age, dis­cour­age or no opin­ion. Guter­res has come out on top of all the polls and on Wed­nes­day re­ceived 13 en­cour­age votes and two no opin­ion votes.

Diplo­mats said one of the no opin­ion votes was cast by one of the five veto wield­ing pow­ers, which are Rus­sia, China, the United States, France and Bri­tain.

The Se­cu­rity Coun­cil will adopt a res­o­lu­tion, tra­di­tion­ally be­hind closed doors, rec­om­mend­ing that the Gen­eral Assem­bly ap­point Guter­res for a five-year term from Jan 1, 2017. The res­o­lu­tion needs nine votes in fa­vor and no ve­toes to pass.

“We hope it can be done by ac­cla­ma­tion,” Churkin said.

Thir­teen peo­ple were nom­i­nated in the race to be­come the next UN chief, but three had al­ready with­drawn be­fore Wed­nes­day’s se­cret bal­lot.

To­day after our sixth straw poll, we have a clear fa­vorite, and his name is An­to­nio Guter­res .” Vi­taly Churkin, Rus­sia’s am­bas­sador to the UN

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