UNITED NATIONS Former Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Guterres is still the frontrunner to be the next United Nations Secretary-General after the second Security Council secret ballot on Friday, diplomats said.
The 15-member council cast a ballot for each of the 11 candidates, and the choice is encourage, discourage or no opinion. Guterres received 11 encourage, two discourage and two no opinions, diplomats said. In the first poll on July 21, Guterres received 12 encourages and three no opinions.
Former Serbian Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremic moved up to second with eight encourage, four discourage and three no opinion, followed by Argentinian Foreign Minister Susana Malcorra who received eight encourage, six discourage and one no opinion.
Former Slovenian President Danilo Turk dropped to fourth from second with seven encourage, five discourage and three no opinion, diplomats said.
The Security Council will hold secret ballots until a consensus is reached on a candidate to replace U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon of South Korea who steps down at the end of 2016 after serving two five-year terms.
Diplomats said the aim was for the council to recommend a candidate to the 193-member General Assembly for election in September or October.
Guterres was prime minister of Portugal from 1995 to 2002 and served as United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees from June 2005 to December 2015.
Some diplomats, speaking on condition of anonymity, had said that if Guterres received any discourage votes on Friday it could simply be an attempt to draw out the selection process.
Former Croatian Foreign Minister Vesna Pusic, who came last in the first ballot, dropped out of the race on Thursday.
(Reporting by Michelle Nichols; editing by Grant McCool)
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