Former Portuguese prime minister Antonio Guterres will be the next Secretary General of the United Nations. The UN Security Council, which gets to pick the candidate, will on Thursday formally commend Guterres to the General Assembly for election.
According to Reuters, the 15-member Security Council has been holding informal secret ballots since July to reach a consensus on a candidate. Members had the choices: 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, the Reuters report said.
“In the end, there was just a candidate whose experience, vision, and versatility across a range of areas proved compelling,” U.S. Ambassador Samantha Power told reporters.
The selection of Guterres, who led the UN’s refugee agency for a decade, invited a range of responses on social media. Helen Clark, former prime minister of New Zealand and one of the contenders for the job, sent in her congratulations:
Others posted congratulatory messages and recollections of having worked with Guterres:
UK ambo @MatthewRycroft1 : Guterres will be"a very strong, effective SG of the UN at a crucial time for the world and for this organisation"— Julian Borger (@julianborger) October 5, 2016
Guterres becomes 9th man to run the UN despite strong women candidates. But he's not the bland, lowest-common-denominator SG many had feared— Julian Borger (@julianborger) October 5, 2016
Some pointed out that there was politics behind the selection:
Anger and disappointment that women candidates missed out again:
Guterres could be as feminist as they come but the #UNSC proved today that the structures behind him don't give a shit. So.— Erin Ryan (@erinryanau) October 5, 2016
In times of rising xenophobia, misogyny, racism, UN fails to elect a woman as new head.— Maxim Eristavi (@MaximEristavi) October 5, 2016
..and acceptance of the Guterres’ selection:
Bittersweet results #NextSG. Bitter: not a woman. Sweet: by far the best man in the race. Congrats Antonio Guterres! We are all with you.— Christiana Figueres (@CFigueres) October 5, 2016