Diplomats: Portugal's Guterres tops fifth poll for UN chief

Diplomats say former prime minister Antonio Guterres of Portugal remains the top choice to succeed Ban Ki-moon as the next U.N. secretary-general after he was the only candidate to get the minimum nine required "yes" votes in the Security Council's fifth informal poll.

The diplomats, speaking on condition of anonymity because the results of Monday's vote were supposed to be kept secret, said Guterres got 12 "encourage" votes. Serbia's former foreign minister Vuk Jeremic and Slovakia's Foreign Minister Miroslav Lajcak received eight "encourage" votes each.

Whether Guterres becomes the next U.N. chief should be clearer after the next straw poll in early October. That's when the five veto-wielding council members — the United States, Russia, China, Britain and France — will use colored ballots for the first time.