UAE, Brazil, Albania, Gabon, Ghana elected to UNSC, How are UNSC members elected? - Explained

The ten non-permanent UNSC members are elected by the United Nations General Assembly for two-year terms starting on 1st January. Five nations are replaced each year. Check which nations are retiring this year. 

Created On: Jun 14, 2021 12:50 ISTModified On: Jun 14, 2021 12:50 IST
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Five nations- UAE, Brazil, Albania, Gabon and Ghana were elected to the UN General Assembly on June 11, 2021 for a two-year term starting from January 1, 2022. 

All the five nations were elected unopposed to the 15-member UN body. They will replace- Vietnam, Estonia, Niger, Saint Vincent, Tunisia and the Grenadines, whose terms ended this year. 

While Ghana received 185 votes, Gabon received 183 votes, Brazil received 181 votes, UAE received 179 votes and Albania received 175 votes.

UNSC Members: All You Need to Know!

The UN Security Council comprises 15 members including five permanent veto-wielding members and 10 non-permanent members, who are elected for a two-year term by the General Assembly. 

Permanent Members of UNSC: 

1. US

2. UK

3. France

4. Russia

5. China

Non-Permanent Members:

1. Estonia (2021)

2. India (2022)

3. Ireland (2022)

4. Kenya (2022)

5. Mexico (2022)

6. Niger (2021)

7. Norway (2022)

8. Saint Vincent and the Grenadines (2021)

9. Tunisia (2021)

10. Vietnam (2021)

The two-year term of Vietnam, Estonia, Niger, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and Tunisia is ending this year.

How are non-permanent UNSC members elected?

• The ten non-permanent UNSC members are elected by the United Nations General Assembly for two-year terms starting on 1st January. Five nations are replaced each year. 

• The interested nations, even if they are running unopposed in their group, must receive the support of more than two-thirds of all votes cast for the seat at the U.N. General Assembly.

• The 10 non-permanent UNSC seats are distributed on a regional basis to ensure geographical representation-

African Group: 3

Latin America and the Caribbean- 2

Asia-Pacific- 2

Western European and Others groups- 2

Eastern European Group - 1

• Traditionally, one of the seats assigned to either the Asia-Pacific Group or the African Group is filled by a nation from the Arab world, alternating between the groups.

UNSC Elections 

The elections for terms beginning in odd-number years generally select two Western European and Other states, one state each from Africa, Asia-Pacific and Latin America and the Caribbean.

The elections for terms beginning in even-numbered years select two African states, one state each from Eastern Europe, Asia-Pacific, and Latin America and the Caribbean. The traditional "Arab seat" is assigned during this term.

What happens if two nations receive an equal number of votes?

There was a similar standoff between Colombia and Cuba in 1979, which went on for almost 3 months and involved a record 154 rounds of voting. Both nations eventually withdrew their candidature in favour of Mexico. 

In another case, neither Italy or the Netherlands met the required two-thirds majority during the 2016 UNSC Elections. The two nations subsequently agreed to split the term of the Western European and Others Group. This was done for the first time in over five decades.

Can a retiring member be elected to the UNSC seat again?

No, a retiring member is not eligible for immediate re-election. 

Background 

The UN Security Council had six non-permanent members in the first two decades, the first of which included Brazil, Australia, Egypt, Mexico, Poland and the Netherlands. The number of non-permanent members was expanded to ten in 1965. 

The UN Security Council is the only UN body that can make legally binding decisions such as imposing sanctions or authorizing use of force. 

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