Sunday, October 9, 2016

Former Portuguese PM Set to Become the Next Secretary-General of the United Nations

In a vote cast by members of the U.N. Security Council,  Antonio Guterres of Portugal was voted to become the next Secretary-General of the United Nations. Guterres was the Prime Minister of Portugal from 1995 to 2002, and will be replacing current Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon of South Korea, who has served since 2007, in early 2017. Guterres also served as the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees from 2005 to 2015, after his service as the head of the Portuguese government. During his previous position within the United Nations, Guterres frequently appealed to Western nations to offer more assistance for refugees fleeing the conflicts in Syria, Afghanistan, and Iraq. This appointment came as a surprise to many who were expecting the next Secretary-General to be a woman; seven of the thirteen candidates in the election were women. In spite of this, the candidates who received the three highest ballot numbers were all men, with the fourth place winner being Irina Bokova of Bulgaria, the Director-General of UNESCO. The Secretary-General is the top diplomat in the United Nations, and his duties involve managing the conflicting demands of world powers within the U.N., as well as preventing disputes from escalating between nations. The Secretary-General serves for terms of five years, and can serve a maximum of two terms. The two most recent Secretaries-General, Kofi Annan and Ban Ki-moon, have each served two terms.

Justin Wysocke

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