The United Nations Security Council chose Portugal’s Antonio Guterres to become the next U.N. secretary-general as South Korea’s Ban Ki-moon finishes his seven-years duties.

Guterres, the former prime minister of Portugal, was elected by 15 Security Council members who agreed to put his name up for discussion at the 193 member General Assembly of the U.N. The now favorite candidate is due to be approved by the Assembly in the upcoming days, but initial declarations have portrayed Guterres as a strong candidate able to fulfill his duties.

UN's Antonio Guterres
Former Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Guterres. Image credit: EFE/Salvatore Di Nolfi.

“Today, after our sixth straw poll we have a clear favorite and his name is Antonio Guterres,” Vitaly Churkin, the Russian ambassador and Security Council of the U.N., told CNN News.

Former PM, Antonio Guterres, worked as the head of the U.N.’s refugee agency since 2005 to 2015. On Wednesday, the U.N security council recommended Guterres as their strong candidate, before the Assembly chooses.

The new favorite 

The current secretary-general of the United Nations, Ban-ki Moon, has been serving since 2007. As his duties finish in 2016, there has been debate over who will be qualified for the empty seat.

At first, many opted for a change in the United Nations and rooted for women to take the seat and help the U.N fight gender inequality as they set an example for the rest of the world. However, it seems that Guterres was a better candidate.

UN's Antonio Guterres
Archive photo: U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and U.N.’s former refugee chief Antonio Guterres at the United Nations summit held in Geneva on October 1, 2014. Image credit: EFE/Martial Trezzini.

The Security Council had to choose between thirteen different candidates from all over the world as an oral voting took place. Members had to qualify the candidates by using the words “encourage,” “discourage” or “no opinion.”

Guterres ended as the Security council’s favorite with 13 “encourage,” two votes of “no opinion” and no “discourage” votes. As for Serbia’s Vuk Jeremic and Miroslav Lajcak from the Slovak Republic, there were seven “encourage” votes and six “discourage,” respectively.

Antonio Guterres started in politics around 1974. He then served as prime minister from 1995 to 2002 before he worked as an assistant professor with an engineering degree.

Guterres joined Portugal’s socialist party in 1974 after his country had ended five decades of a dictatorship and slowly began winning a name in the world of politics. He served his country until 2002 and then started showing interest in the world’s politics.

He is the father of two children he had with his first wife, who died in 1998 due to cancer. Guterres remarried in 2001. He speaks four languages (Spanish, English, Portuguese and French) and served as the United Nation’s commissioner for refugees until 2015.

His fight during his time in the position was focused on gaining more participation from richer countries, although he worked on international crisis responses. Guterres’ formal election is expected to take place at the end of the week.

Source: BBC