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Five Non-Permanent Members Elected to UN Security Council


FILE: The United Nations Security Council, Jan. 18, 2018 at U.N. headquarters.

The U.N. General Assembly approved five new non-permanent members of the U.N. Security Council on Thursday, in an uncontested and anti-climactic race.

Ecuador, Japan, Malta, Mozambique and Switzerland each overwhelmingly received the requisite two-thirds majority of member states’ votes to confirm their two-year terms on the powerful 15-member council. The terms will start on January 1, 2023.

Council seats are allocated based on regional groupings, and this year, the blocs each put forward only a single candidate, eliminating any real suspense about the outcome.

As a result, campaigning was low-key, without the traditionally splashy events candidate countries put on to promote themselves, and lingering waves of COVID-19 also discouraged big events.

“In the last few months, all U.N. diplomatic business has been overshadowed by the war in Ukraine, which I think was another obstacle to any really high-profile campaigning,” noted Richard Gowan, U.N. director for the International Crisis Group and a long-time U.N. watcher.

That conflict is likely to remain atop the council’s agenda going into the new year when the five begin their terms.

“The hard part will obviously be then to work out what they can do in a Security Council where the big powers are deeply divided over Ukraine,” Gowan said.

Of the new members, Japan has the most experience, having served 11 terms, according to Security Council Report, which tracks the statistics. Switzerland — which only joined the United Nations in 2002 — and Mozambique, have never held council seats.

The council deals with the maintenance of international peace and security, and holds the authority to adopt legally binding resolutions, deploy peacekeeping missions and impose sanctions.

Ecuador, Japan, Malta, Mozambique and Switzerland will replace exiting members India, Ireland, Kenya, Mexico and Norway. They will join Albania, Brazil, Gabon, Ghana and the United Arab Emirates, which each have one more year on their non-permanent terms, as well as the permanent five veto-wielding members – Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States.

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