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UN’s Secretive Ways Means Frontrunner Could Still Lose

  • Portugal’s Guterres could see chances spoiled by Russian veto
  • Bulgaria’s candidates are female and hail from favored region
Updated on

Portugal’s Antonio Guterres has the chops to lead the United Nations: he led his nation as prime minister and later coordinated humanitarian aid shipments to refugees fleeing war zones. That might not be enough.

As the most recent head of the UN’s refugee agency, Guterres has won the support of 80 percent of Security Council members following four rounds of straw polls. Yet an unspoken custom over geography -- it’s Eastern Europe’s “turn” to lead the UN -- and an active campaign to name the first-ever female Secretary-General means he may not get that chance.