October 16 - Issue 34 - Security Council Elections Concluded – Costa Rica and Croatia Elected in Third Round

New York, October 16, 2007 - The General Assembly elected five members of the Security Council today, October 16. Three rounds of voting were required, and the election was concluded by mid-day.

Results

For the African States, Burkina Faso and Libya ran unopposed for the two available seats, and they were elected in the first round with 185 and 178 supporting votes, respectively (out of 190 votes cast). For the Asian States, Vietnam also ran unopposed and was elected in the first round with 183 supporting votes.

The "clean slates" (same number of candidates as seats available) presented to the General Assembly for these two regional groups were the result of regional agreements before the election. The clean slates left Member States with little choice but to elect the candidates presented and practically guaranteed the election of those states. Two states voted for Mauritania, which had announced its candidacy independently of the African Group earlier this year. Mauritania agreed to withdraw in September in exchange for a promise from Libya that the latter would support Mauritania's candidacy for 2012-2013. Senegal received one vote.

The Latin American and Caribbean States had two candidates for a single available seat, Costa Rica and the Dominican Republic. In two rounds of voting, neither state obtained the required two-thirds support, but Costa Rica received the higher number of votes both times (Round 1: 126 votes required, Costa Rica 116, Dominican Republic 72; Round 2: 126 votes required, Costa Rica 119, Dominican Republic 70).

After these results were announced, General Assembly President Srgjan Kerim stated that the Dominican Republic wished to take the floor. It then announced its withdrawal from the election, a seemingly expected move, as many other delegations were already congratulating Costa Rica. A formal vote still was necessary. Costa Rica received 179 votes, resulting in its election.

The Eastern European group also had two candidates for a single seat, Croatia and the Czech Republic. In two rounds of voting, neither state obtained the required two-thirds support, but Croatia received the higher number of votes both times (Round 1: 124 votes required, Croatia: 95, Czech Republic: 91; Round 2: 125 votes required, Croatia: 106, Czech Republic 81). After the Dominican Republic withdrew from the election, the Czech Republic requested the floor, and it too announced its withdrawal from the election. This seemed to be more of a surprise to several delegations, who rushed to congratulate Croatia. In the final vote Croatia received 184 votes.

Thus, five new non-permanent members were elected: Burkina Faso, Costa Rica, Croatia, Libya, and Vietnam. The new members will replace Congo, Ghana, Peru, Qatar, and Slovakia, whose terms end on December 31, 2007. They will join current members Belgium (elected), China (permanent), France (permanent), Indonesia (elected), Italy (elected), Panama (elected), Russia (permanent), South Africa (elected), the United Kingdom (permanent), and the United States (permanent) on January 1, 2008.

Coming Up

Regions and Member States are already preparing for the elections for membership in 2009-2010.

Africa

  • Seats available: 1 (to replace South Africa).
  • Expected candidates: According to the African Group's formal system of sub-regional rotation, the next sub-region to be endorsed for a seat on the Council will be East Africa.

Asia

  • Seats available: 1 (to replace Indonesia).
  • Expected candidates: Iran. According to an informal understanding, Asia and Africa take turns presenting an Arab member state for membership on the Council. However, the Asian Group generally provides an Arab candidate every four years, and Indonesia was elected in 2006. Japan has also indicated interest in non-permanent membership in the near future, but it is unclear which year it will run.

Eastern Europe

  • Seats available: none

Latin America and the Caribbean

  • Seats available: 1 (to replace Panama).
  • Expected candidates: unknown

Western Europe and Other States

  • Seats available: 2 (to replace Belgium, Italy).
  • Expected candidates: Austria, Turkey, Iceland (for the Nordic sub-region). The Nordic sub-group has an established practice of putting forward a candidate every four years. However, WEOG does not have a tradition of agreeing on a clean slate ahead of the election, and its seats regularly are contested.

Background: Election Procedure

Each year the General Assembly elects five new non-permanent members to the Security Council, where they serve two-year terms. The elections follow the General Assembly's Rules of Procedure, in particular Rules 83 and 93, which call for an unlimited number of voting rounds until one candidate obtains a two-thirds majority of the present members who vote (as opposed to abstaining) and whose ballots are deemed valid. The voting rounds alternate between "restricted" and "unrestricted." In unrestricted ballots, votes can be cast for any member of the regional group that is not currently on the Council. In restricted ballots, only the two highest-scoring candidates of the previous round can be voted for.

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