NEW YORK: The United Nations General Assembly on Wednesday will elect five new members of the Security Council for 2021 and 2022.
India is assured of a seat as it is running unopposed in the Asia-Pacific after trying unsuccessfully to win a permanent seat in an expanded Security Council. Mexico is also expected to win unopposed in the Latin America and Caribbean region.
Africa failed to continue its tradition of deciding candidates among themselves, setting the stage for a showdown. Kenya and Djibouti are facing off for one seat, while in the Western bloc, three nations – Canada, Ireland and Norway – are vying for two seats among them.
Kenya enjoys the support of the African Union, but Djibouti says it should have the seat due to Nairobi’s past participation on the Security Council and the principle of rotation.
Djibouti and Kenya are both highlighting their roles in seeking peace on the Horn of Africa, as well as their contributions to UN peacekeeping options.
Kenya has pointed to its welcome to refugees from Somalia and South Sudan, as well as to its support to the two countries’ fragile governments.
Djibouti noted its strategic location and unusual role as a defense base for four countries – France, United States, China and Japan – as well as its contributions in Somalia.
The competition is customary for Europe. Canada was defeated in 2010 during its last bid for the Security Council when the General Assembly chose Portugal instead.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has invested heavily in the latest Security Council effort and a potential defeat can cause him political embarrassment at home.
The General Assembly will not vote electronically, even though the United Nations is mostly operating virtually until the end of July due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Instead, each of the 193 delegations will have a chance to cast a secret ballot at a designated time scattered throughout the day in the Assembly Hall.
Each new Security Council member needs to win two-thirds of the votes cast – meaning 128 votes if all 193 nations vote. Delegates could have to vote multiple times to certify a winner.
The Security Council has 10 non-permanent members in addition to the veto-wielding permanent members – Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States.
The General Assembly will also elect its president for the 2020-21 session. Turkish diplomat Volkan Boz kir is the only candidate running.
Armenia, Cyprus and Greece have opposed him due to the historically tense relations with Turkey, meaning he cannot be elected by consensus and a vote will be necessary.
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