The United Nations General Assembly today elected Colombia, Germany, India, Portugal and South Africa to serve on the Security Council for two-year terms, beginning 1 January 2011.
They will replace Austria, Japan, Mexico, Turkey and Uganda, whose two-year terms come to an end on 31 December.
To be elected to the Council, candidate countries need a two-thirds majority of ballots of Member States that are present and voting in the 192-member Assembly. The seats are allocated on the basis of geographical groupings.
Colombia, India and South Africa ran unopposed and were elected to represent their respective regions, having received 186 votes, 187 votes and 182 votes, respectively, in the first round of balloting.
The two available seats from the Western European and Other States category were contested by Germany, Portugal and Canada, with Germany winning one seat with 128 votes in the first round. The contest between Canada and Portugal went to a second round but then Canada withdrew paving the way for Portugal to win the remaining seat, with 150 votes.
The five countries elected today will join Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Gabon, Lebanon and Nigeria, whose terms on the Council end on 31 December 2011. The five permanent members are China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States.
Four years ago, the Assembly held 48 rounds of balloting, spread over three weeks, to fill the contested seat for the Latin American and Caribbean region. After the 48th round, the two candidates – Guatemala and Venezuela – had withdrawn and the regional group endorsed Panama, which was consequently elected.
The longest election ever held took place in 1979, with 155 rounds between 26 October and 7 January, after which the two candidates – Colombia and Cuba – withdrew and Mexico was elected.