Former PM Guterres still heads ‘race’ for UN’s top job

The convoluted voting process for the next UN secretary general has seen Portugal’s former Socialist prime minister António Guterres keep hold of his lead through the fifth ballot.

As website New Europe explains this means that “in spite of the pressure to finally have a woman to succeed Ban Ki-moon” when he steps down at the end of this year, “four men are topping the list in the Security Council’s fifth informal poll” held on Monday.

Does it mean Guterres’ is a dead cert for the job? The short answer is no.

Despite winning through all the processes this far it now remains to see what the countries with veto powers decide – and according to national and international press, this is where Guterres’ popularity might come unstuck.

There is not too long to wait, however. The next straw poll comes on October 4 when the five countries with veto powers – the United States, Russia, China, Britain and France – will use coloured ballots for the first time.

By tradition, the job of secretary general has “rotated among regions”, explains New Europe, adding that “Asia, Africa, Latin America and Europe have all held the post.

“East European nations, including Russia argue that they have never had a secretary general and that it is their turn”.

This is exactly what German broadcaster Deutsche Welle was saying earlier this month suggesting Guterres may soon come up against “a surprise rival” (click here).

Whatever lies ahead, Guterres has been rapped over the knuckles back home as he has not filed a “declaration of income”, something he is legally-bound to do as a result of his position on the Council of State.

He has now been given 30 days to send this information to judges of the Constitutional Court.

National tabloid Correio da Manhã says Guterres has blamed the lapse on his hectic campaign schedule that has taken him “out of the country” for weeks.

“I haven’t been able to get all the necessary information together”, he told them. “As soon as I do, I will hand it over”.

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