Portugal’s former Prime Minister Antonio Guterres was today appointed as the next Secretary-General of the United Nations by the General Assembly. The 193 member states of the powerful General Assembly adopted the resolution by acclamation, appointing 67-year-old Guterres as the 9th UN Secretary-General to take over from Ban Ki-moon, whose tenure will end on December 31.
The 15-nation UN Security Council had last week voted for Guterres by acclamation and forwarded his name to the General Assembly. Guterres, who was Prime Minister of Portugal from 1995 to 2002, and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees from June 2005 to December 2015, will assume his new role on January 1, 2017 for a five-year term that can be renewed by Member States for an additional five years.
Guterres had emerged as the front-runner in all the six informal polls conducted in the Council to select the
Secretary-General amid a heightened call by several UN member states and civil society organisations to elect a woman chief for the world body, which has had a man at its helm for all the 71 years of its existence.
Ban, however, described him as “a superb choice” for the position of Secretary-General, noting that the two had worked closely during Guterres’ “long and outstanding tenure” as the UN High Commissioner for Refugees.