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Antonio Guterres Elected As Next UN Chief

UN Secretary-General-designate Antonio Guterres speaks during his appointment ceremony at the 70th session of the General Assembly in New York on October 13.

The United Nations General Assembly has elected Antonio Guterres as the next UN secretary-general.

The 193 UN member states elected Guterres, a former Portuguese prime minister, by acclamation on October 13.

The 67-year-old will take over from Ban Ki-moon of South Korea, who has served two terms, and begin a five-year term on January 1.

Guterres pledged to work as a "convener, a mediator, a bridge-builder, and an honest broker" to confront global crises.

On Syria, the most pressing crisis on the UN agenda, "whatever divisions might exist, now it's more important to unite," Guterres told reporters after the vote. "It's high time to fight for peace."

"He is perhaps best-known where it counts most -- on the front lines of armed conflict and humanitarian suffering," Ban said on October 13.

"His political instincts are those of the United Nations -- cooperation for the common good, and shared responsibility for people and the planet."

Guterres received the unanimous backing of the 15-member UN Security Council on October 6.

He was the prime minister of Portugal from 1995 to 2002.

He served as UN high commissioner for refugees from 2005 to 2015.

Guterres will be the ninth secretary-general in the organization's 71-year history.

Based on reporting by AP and AFP