Antonio Guterres solidifies lead in race to become UN secretary general

Portugal’s former prime minister, Antonio Guterres, has consolidated a strong lead in the race to become the next United Nations secretary general, after a third security council secret ballot, writes

Diplomats said that only a decisive stand by Russia, which has argued that the job should go to an eastern European, could now stop Guterres succeeding Ban Ki-moon in the UN’s top job. A fourth straw poll is expected in September in the hope that a consensus forms around a winner by October.

In a succession of straw polls by secret ballot, the 15 security council members vote whether to encourage, discourage or express no opinion about a candidate. Results of Monday’s poll supplied by diplomats showed 11 members voted to “encourage” Guterres, who served as the UN high commissioner for refugees for a decade.