UNITED NATIONS, Oct 13 (APP): The General Assembly Tuesday appointed Antonio Guterres, former Prime Minister of Portugal, as the Secretary General of the 193 member United Nations.
Under a resolution, which was adopted by acclamation, Guterres second term will run from 1 January 2017 to 31 December 2021.
Today’s decision follows a unanimous recommendation last week by members of the Security Council for the appointment of Guterres to succeed Secretary General Ban Ki moon, whose two terms in the office end on 31 December 2016.
Guterres, aged 67, was Prime Minister of Portugal from 1995 to 2002, and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees from June 2005 to December 2015.
On an official visit to Italy, last week when the Council forward its decision to the Assembly, Ban said in Rome that Guterres is an excellent choice, noting that the two had worked closely during Guterres long and outstanding tenure as the UN High Commissioner for Refugees.
The UN Charter, signed in 1945 as the foundation of the Organization, says relatively little about how a Secretary General is to be selected, aside from Article 97, which notes that the candidate shall be appointed by the General Assembly upon the recommendation of the Security Council.
Guterres entered politics in 1976 in Portugal’s first democratic election after five decades of dictatorship.
He became leader of the Socialist party in 1992 and was elected prime minister in 1995.
As head of the UNHCR refugee agency from 2005 to 2015, Guterres was at the forefront of some of the world’s worst refugee crises, including Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq.
But despite Guterres’ breadth of appeal and experience, many had hoped the top job would go to a woman.
Out of 13 candidates, seven were women, including the former prime minister of New Zealand, the director general of UN cultural agency UNESCO, the Moldovan deputy prime minister and a senior EU official.