The Portuguese government has proposed former Prime Minister António Guterres as its candidate to next United Nations Secretary-General, Prime Minister António Costa announced Friday.
According to a statement released by Portuguese Minister of Foreign Affairs, Augusto Santos Silva, Guterres has the political career and the international experience which make him an ideal candidate.
“The government considers that this candidacy is an imperative at a time when, more than at any time before, the world has to mobiliser for peace and development,” the statement said.
Ban Ki-moon, the current UN Secretary-General, completes his second five year term at the end of 2016 and UN member states are welcome to submit their candidates. Candidatures already announced include UNESCO’s Chief Irina Bokova (Bulgaria), as well as former Slovenian president Danilo Turk.
António Guterres, 66, a career politician who is the former UN High Commissioner for Refugees (2005-2015), was Portugal’s Prime Minister (1995-2002), served as president of the European Council (2000) and was president of the Socialist International (1999-2005). As UN High Commissioner, he headed one of the world’s largest humanitarian organizations with a budget over USD $6.8 billion (2015) and more than 9,000 staff working in 123 countries providing assistance to over 46 million displaced people worldwide.