The ambassadors on the United Nations Security Council announced on Wednesday that the members have come behind Antonio Guterres to be the next Secretary-General.
In the straw poll, Guterres was easily the top pick with 13 “encouraged” votes. He did not have any “discouraged” votes, but two members expressed “no opinion.” Guterres also received “encouraged” votes from all five permanent members of the Council.
Guterres is a former prime minister of Portugal and served as High Commissioner for Refugees for the United Nations from 2005 to 2015.
The United States was advocating having a female Secretary-General which would be a first for the group. However, Guterres was able to unite both the Western countries and Russia and China.
There were thirteen candidates, but three dropped out before the final straw poll.
The Security Council will formally nominate Guterres on Thursday which will then be followed by a vote by the full General Assembly.
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s term will end in January at which point Guterres will take over.
The ambassadors gathered together to announce the decision with Russian Ambassador Vitaly Churkin, who is currently serving as chair of the Security Council, announced the decision.
“We have a clear favorite, and his name is Antonio Guterres,” Churkin said.
“Every day we go into Security Council, we aspire for the kind of unity we saw today,” American Ambassador Samantha Powers said.
“And on a crisis with carnage as horrific as that in Syria, the urgency of achieving that unity is no secret to anyone. And it’s not something we’ve achieved up to this point.”
The Syrian crisis will be one of the top priorities of the new Secretary-General. The UN has been criticized for its inaction on the crisis.