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Former Prime Minister of Portugal Antonio Guterres elected by UN general assembly as new secretary-general

Caitlin Morrison
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Former Portuguese leader Antonio Guterres (Source: Getty)

Former Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Guterres has been elected as the new United Nations secretary-general by the UN General Assembly.

The decision was widely expected, after none of the five UN Security Council veto powers — China, France, Russia, the UK, and the US — voted against him in a secret ballot last week.

Guterres, a former UN refugee chief, will replace Ban Ki-moon of South Korea, who is due to step down at the end of 2016 after two five-year terms.

After last week's secret ballot, Russian UN ambassador Vitaly Churkin told reporters that a straw poll had revealed a "clear favourite" - Guterres.

"We have decided to go to a formal vote... and we hope it can be done by acclamation," said Churkin, who is council president for October.

The UN Security Council must adopt a resolution - which needs nine votes in favour and no vetoes to pass - behind closed doors before it can recommend a candidate to the 193-member General Assembly for election.

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