António Manuel de Oliveira Guterres is a Portuguese politician and diplomat serving as the ninth secretary-general of the United Nations. A member of the Portuguese Socialist Party, he served as prime minister of Portugal from 1995 to 2002.
Guterres served as secretary-general of the Socialist Party from 1992 to 2002. He was elected prime minister of Portugal in 1995 and resigned in 2002 after the Socialist Party was defeated in the 2001 Portuguese local elections. After six years governing without an absolute majority and with a bad economy, the Socialist Party did worse than expected because of losses in Lisbon and Porto, where polls showed it with a solid lead. Eduardo Ferro Rodrigues assumed the Socialist Party leadership, but the general election was lost to the Social Democratic Party, led by José Manuel Barroso.
Guterres served as president of the Socialist International from 1999 to 2005. He was the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees from 2005 to 2015. In both a 2012 and 2014 poll, the Portuguese public ranked him the best prime minister of the previous 30 years.
Guterres was born and raised in Lisbon, Portugal, the son of Virgílio Dias Guterres (1913–2009) and Ilda Cândida de Oliveira (born 1923).
He attended the Camões Lyceum (now Camões Secondary School), where he graduated in 1965, winning the National Lyceums Award (Prémio Nacional dos Liceus) as the best student in the country. He studied physics and electrical engineering at Instituto Superior Técnico – University of Lisbon in Lisbon. He graduated in 1971 and started an academic career as an assistant professor teaching systems theory and telecommunications signals, before leaving academic life to start a political career.
Guterres's political career began in 1974, when he became a member of the Socialist Party. Shortly thereafter, he quit academic life and became a full-time politician. In the period following the Carnation Revolution of 25 April 1974 that put an end to Caetano's dictatorship, Guterres became involved in Socialist Party leadership and held the following offices:
- Head of Office of the Secretary of State of Industry (1974 and 1975)
- Deputy for Castelo Branco in the Portuguese National Parliament (1976–1995)
- Leader of the parliamentary bench of the Socialist Party, succeeding Jorge Sampaio (1988)
In 1972, Guterres married child psychiatrist Luísa Amélia Guimarães e Melo, with whom he had two children, Pedro Guimarães e Melo Guterres (born 1977) and Mariana Guimarães e Melo de Oliveira Guterres (born 1985). His wife died of cancer at the Royal Free Hospital in London in 1998 at the age of 51.
In 2001, Guterres married Catarina Marques de Almeida Vaz Pinto (b. 1960), a former Portuguese State Secretary for Culture and Culture Secretary for the City Council of Lisbon.
In addition to his native Portuguese, Guterres speaks English, French, and Spanish.
Guterres is a practicing Catholic. During his university years, he joined the Group of Light, a club for young Catholics, where he met Father Vítor Melícias, a prominent Franciscan priest and church administrator who remains a close friend and confidant.