By SOMINI SENGUPTA
António Guterres, then the United Nations high commissioner for refugees, in 2014. Mr. Guterres won a straw poll to become the next secretary general.
UNITED NATIONS — The United Nations Security Council reached a surprisingly swift consensus Wednesday on its choice for the next secretary general of the United Nations: António Guterres, a former prime minister of Portugal.
Mr. Guterres, who ran the United Nations refugee agency for 10 years, had been the clear front-runner, and was apparently the choice of the otherwise deeply divided Security Council.
“We have a clear favorite and his name is António Guterres,” said Vitaly I. Churkin, the Russian ambassador to the United Nations who is presiding over the Security Council this month.
Mr. Churkin made the announcement outside the Council chamber Wednesday, flanked by his American counterpart, Samantha Power, and the other ambassadors representing the 15 countries on the Council.
Mr. Guterres, who will face a formal Council vote on Thursday morning, will have his name submitted to the 193-member General Assembly for approval. If elected, he will succeed the current secretary general, Ban Ki-moon, whose second five-year term expires at the end of this year. He would preside over the United Nations at a time when it has faltered in carrying out its chief mandate — to stop the scourge of war — and confronts an ever-widening rift between Russia and the West.