The sixth secret vote unanimously confirmed Antonio Guterres as a clear candidate for the next chief as none of the five permanent UN Security Council veto powers voted against him.

Portugal's Antonio Guterres Named as Next United Nations head
Portugal's Antonio Guterres Named as Next United Nations head (TRT World and Agencies)

Former Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Guterres has hung on to become the next United Nations Secretary-General following a sixth secret straw poll on Wednesday.

In a bid to reach an agreement on the next UN chief, the 15-member Security Council during the secret ballot were asked to select from a choice of encourage, discourage or no opinion for the 10 candidates.

Guterres received 13 encourage votes and two no opinion votes, making him the expected winner.

"Today after our sixth straw poll we have a clear favourite and his name is Antonio Guterres," Russian UN Ambassador Vitaly Churkin, president of the 15-member council for October, informed reporters.

Bulgarian candidate Kristalina Georgieva was considered to be Guterres' closest rival for the position. The 63-year-old is serving as European commissioner for the Budget and Human Resources.

Guterres, 67, who was Portugal's leader from 1995 to 2002 as head of the Socialist Party, will replace the mandatory secretary-general, South Korea's Ban Ki-moon, whose second five-year term ends on December 31.

(TRT World and Agencies)

The front runner is an engineer by trade who first entered into politics in 1974. He also served for a time as President of the Socialist International and joined United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees from June 2005 to December 2015.

Before Wednesday's secret ballot, three out of the thirteen people nominated to become the next head had withdrawn.

The authorised vote will take place on Thursday morning at 14:00 GMT in which the the 193-member General Assembly must approve his nomination.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies