Issue 1 - 7 November 2006 - Security Council Elections Concluded - Panama Wins GRULAC Seat

New York, 7 November 2006 –

Background:

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. 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.

Current Election:

This year’s Security Council election began on 16 October. For the African States, South Africa ran unopposed and was elected with 186 supporting votes. For the Asian States, Indonesia and Nepal ran for one seat, for which Indonesia was elected (Indonesia 158; Nepal 28). For the Western European and Other States, Italy and Belgium were elected, unopposed, to the two seats available (Italy 186; Belgium 180).

The Latin American and Caribbean States had two candidates for a single seat, Guatemala and Venezuela. Neither state obtained the required two-thirds support in the first round of voting.

In 47 rounds of alternating ballots that followed in October and November, Guatemala and Venezuela continued to receive less than the required 2/3 majority, with Guatemala usually scoring above 100 and Venezuela receiving the balance of votes. Only approximately 14 votes were cast for other candidates over the course of the 47 ballots. Finally, on 2 November, the Group of Latin American and Caribbean States endorsed Panama as a compromise candidate on the understanding that Guatemala and Venezuela would withdraw their bids for the seat.

At the GA plenary meeting today, 7 November, the President conveyed GRULAC’s decision and proceeded to the 48th round of voting, which was an unrestricted ballot. Panama received well over two-thirds support with 164 votes. Venezuela received 11, Guatemala 4, and Barbados 1 vote.

Thus, five new non-permanent members were elected: Belgium, Indonesia, Italy, Panama, and South Africa. The new members will replace Argentina, Denmark, Greece, Japan, and Tanzania, whose terms end on 31 December 2007. They will join current members Congo, Ghana, Peru, Qatar, and Slovakia on 1 January 2007.

Coming Up:

Regions are already preparing for next year’s elections. The 50-member group of Asian States recently decided to support Vietnam as its sole candidate to replace Qatar for 2008-2009.