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Jun 12, 2021

UN elects five new members to serve on Security Council

Foreign Affairs News Correspondent
Voting: Five States were elected by the General Assembly to serve as non-permanent members of the UN Security Council for the 2022-2023 term. UN Photo/Evan Schneider
Voting: Five States were elected by the General Assembly to serve as non-permanent members of the UN Security Council for the 2022-2023 term. UN Photo/Evan Schneider

Albania, Brazil, Gabon, Ghana and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) were elected by the 75th session of the General Assembly on Friday to serve as non-permanent members of the UN Security Council for the 2022-2023 term. 

According to the final tally, Ghana received 185 votes, Gabon 183, UAE 179, Albania 175 and Brazil 181 votes.  

The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) garnered three votes while Peru and Iran each collected one. 

The Security Council is a body of 15 members, five of which are permanent and have veto power: the United States, United Kingdom, France, Russia and China.  

The newly elected five will join India, Ireland, Kenya, Mexico and Norway, the other non-permanent members. 

Breaking Down 

Vacating their seats were Vietnam, for the Group of Asia and the Pacific Small Island Developing States known as the Asia-Pacific Group; Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, for the Latin American and Caribbean Group, called GRULAC; Estonia, for the Eastern European Group; and Niger and Tunisia as part of the African Group. 

The candidates ran mostly unopposed within their regions, except for Gabon and Ghana, which were challenged by the DRC for the two available seats in the African Group.  

The five new members elected this year will begin their terms on 1 January 2022 and serve until 31 December 2023. 

While Albania is the only State that has never served previously, Brazil has sat on the Council ten times, Gabon and Ghana three times each and UAE once.  

Path To Service 

Before applying, each country must obtain the votes of two-thirds of the Member States present and voting at the General Assembly, to secure a seat on the Council.  

Broken down, this translates to a minimum of 129 votes, to win a seat if all 193 UN Member States are present and voting. 

Even if candidates have been endorsed by their regional group and are running unopposed, formal balloting is required. 

Though unlikely, in the first round a Member State running unchallenged might not garner the requisite votes in the Assembly and face a new challenger in subsequent rounds.  

There have, historically, been several instances in which extended rounds of voting were required to fill a contested seat.  

Such situations have usually been resolved when one of the contenders withdraws, or a compromise candidate is elected.  

Exceptionally, countries competing for a seat have decided to split the term between them. But since 1966, this only happened once, in 2016, when Italy and the Netherlands agreed to split the 2017-2018 term. 

Since 2010, 78 per cent of races for Security Council seats have been uncontested.

António Guterres Nominated

Meanwhile, the Security Council has formally selected the current Secretary-General  Antonio Guterres as its nominee to serve a second five-year term in the UN’s top job.

The UN Security Council meets to discuss its recommendation for the appointment of the United Nations Secretary-General. UNPhoto/Eskinder Debebe

The recommendation, made in a resolution adopted by acclamation in a private meeting, now goes to the 193-member General Assembly for formal approval.

In a statement Guterres said it was “a great honour” to be selected, and thanked ambassadors serving on the Secutiy Council for placing their trust in him. “My gratitude also extends to Portugal, for having nominated me again”, he added.

“I would be deeply humbled if the General Assembly were to entrust me with the responsibilities of a second mandate.” 

Under procedures for appointing the world body’s new chief, after the recommendation is transmitted from the Security Council to the General Assembly, a draft resolution is issued for the Assembly to take action. After appropriate consultations with Member States, the Assembly President fixes a date for the draft to be taken up.

Vision Statement

Guterres also circulated his vision ststement for a second five-year term in March, and in early May he took part in an informal interactive dialogue at UN Headquarters.

A vote will take place only if a Member State requests it and a simple majority of those voting would be required for the Assembly to adopt the resolution. But the Assembly could decide that the decision requires a two-thirds majority. If a vote is taken, it will be by secret ballot.

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