Wednesday (June 9th): Guterres’ (not so) Big Election Win!

António Guterres

Name? António Guterres

Westphalian identity? Portuguese

Age? 72

Why is he in the news? The UN Secretary-General has officially been recommended to take on a second term, making Guterres the earliest incumbent to receive a second recommendation.

Why do we care? In comparison to the highly competitive race between seven women and six men that led to Guterres first term, this race could hardly be classified as a race… If you were to look at the UN election webpage, you would only see Guterres when there were technically other candidates though none of which received the nomination of their member state. We have nothing against Guterres but an institution that so clearly stands for democratic elections and practices ultimately leaving the decision of its most important position up to the P5.

Why should you care? Unless you’re Portuguese or simply a big fan/hater of Guterres, this ‘election’ probably won’t matter to you too much. That said, Guterres has backed climate action, Covid19 vaccines for all and digital cooperation throughout his first term so fellow advocates of these issues can celebrate big. On our how much you should care scale this scores a 3/10.

Who else cares? Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch urges Guterres to take a more public stand during his second term against the human rights abuses of more ‘powerful and protected governments’ like China, Russia and the US. Guterres has recently taken a more active stance in denouncing abuses in Myanmar and Belarus but many like Roth are hoping he’ll tackle bigger countries now that his second term is more secure.

Any further comments? It’s no secret that the UN General Assembly, and specifically the Security Council have some shortcomings when it comes to equal membership and voting capacity. The reelection of Guterres simply highlights that a bit more openly as even the corresponding UN Resolution admitted there are ‘some grey areas’ in the process.

Sarah McFadden

Team Member of Research & Analysis