UN to elect non-permanent Security Council members

The UN General Assembly is set to elect five new non-permanent Security Council members to replace Spain, Venezuela, New Zealand, Malaysia and Angola in January 2017.

Bolivia heads into the Tuesday vote un-opposed and will take over the Latin American seat currently occupied by Venezuela, EFE news reported.

Likewise, Ethiopia is the only candidate for Africa and will take over on January 1, 2017 the seat Angola holds for the 2015-2016 term.

The other three seat are up for grabs: Kazakhstan and Thailand compete for the spot reserved for the UN’s Asia-Pacific regional bloc, while Italy, the Netherlands and Sweden vie for the two available seats for the Western European and Others Group.

To be elected, a candidate must receive the support of at least two thirds of the nations taking part in the vote at the UN General Assembly. If all 193 members take part, a country would need 129 votes to enter the Security Council.

The elected countries will sit for a period of two years along with the five other non-permanent members that started their two-year mandate on January 1, 2016: Egypt, Japan, Senegal, Ukraine and Uruguay, and with the five permanent members Russia, the US, China, France and Britain.

Kazakhstan, which is going up against Thailand, is the only candidate that has never held a seat on the Security Council. If elected, the Central Asian nation would become the first former Soviet republic to have a vote in the UN’s most important decision-making body.

Kazakhstan is riding on its reputation as a staunch promoter of regional and international peace and stability, especially in the area of nuclear disarmament.

It is a reputation it earned by voluntarily giving up the nuclear weapons arsenal – the fourth largest in the world – that it inherited following the break-up of the Soviet Union.

The country also has taken a leading role in the global effort to bring into force the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty and spearheaded the Central Asian Nuclear Weapon Free Zone agreement.

Bolivia, meanwhile, will return to the UN Security Council for the first time since the 1978-1979 biennium. It was also a non-permanent member between 1964 and 1965.

The government of President Evo Morales has in recent years been very critical of the Council’s role in conflict resolution, but Bolivia has worked closely with the UN in various fields, such as the environment.

This year, the Security Council elections are being held for the first time in June instead of October in order to give more time for new members to prepare.

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