The official presentation of the candidacy of the former Socialist prime minister, who until 31 December was the UN High Commissioner for refugees, should be filed later this month.

Luck said that Guterres "was, for a decade, an eloquent defender of a greater and greater number of displaced people" and that the fight of these people "will certainly be one of the most urgent challenges the world is going to face in the coming years."

The professor of international relations at Columbia University in New York, also said that as prime minister of Portugal, Guterres showed "he had the political acumen that will be essential in a highly complex and often contentious international and geopolitical environment."

"Apart from that", Luck recalled, "the UN leaders tend to come from small or medium powers like Portugal."

However, "many members have said they are determined to find a highly qualified woman for the job, something that would be unprecedented. Various promising women have already declared their intention or are waiting behind the stage”, he said.

The specialist said that “a number of countries, especially in Eastern Europe or the developing world seem to feel that it is the right time for Eastern Europe to get the job."

"Therefore, although Guterres is superbly qualified to become the next secretary general, it will be an up-hill fight", Edward C. Luck concluded.