News World Antonio Guterres poised to be next UN head

Antonio Guterres poised to be next UN head

Antonio Guterres UN
Former Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Guterres will be the next UN Secretary–General. Photo: Salvatore Di Nolfi/Keystone via AP
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A gracious Kevin Rudd has congratulated former Portuguese prime minister Antonio Guterres after he was endorsed to be the next United Nation’s secretary general.

Despite vocal campaigns for the next secretary-general to be a woman and countries including Russia calling for an eastern European to win the job, the UN Security Council rejected both and on Wednesday endorsed Mr Guterres.

The former Australian prime minister, whose nomination was not endorsed by the Turnbull government, says the endorsement by the UN Security Council is a tribute to Mr Guterres and Portugal ahead of a formal vote.

“Deepest congratulations to Antonio Guterres on election as UN SG,” Mr Rudd tweeted on Thursday.

None of the five UN Security Council veto-powers voted against Mr Guterres in a sixth secret ballot, diplomats say.

The 15-member Security Council on Wednesday cast secret ballots for each of the 10 candidates with the choices of: encourage, discourage or no opinion.

For Mr Guterres to be formally recommended to the 193-member General Assembly for election, the Security Council still needs to adopt a resolution behind closed doors.

The resolution needs at least nine votes in favour and no vetoes to pass.

Former New Zealand Prime Minister and current UNDP head Helen Clark, who always languished near the bottom of the pack, has congratulated her rival.

Mr Rudd had once reportedly joked in April he would have a better shot if his surname was “Ruddovich”.

Eastern Europe has not had a secretary-general in the UN’s 70-year history and with the job traditionally rotating from region to region there was general acceptance the winner would be a candidate from Bulgaria, Slovenia or Slovakia.

But Mr Guterres, 66, was the frontrunner in the first five straw polls.

Ban Ki-moon, of South Korea, will step down as secretary-general at the end of the year.

– with AAP

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