SHAFAQNA (International Shia News Association) – Angola, Malaysia, New Zealand, Venezuela and Spain on Thursday were elected by the UN General Assembly to a two-year term on the UN Security Council beginning Jan. 1, 2015, replacing retiring members Argentina, Australia, Luxembourg, the Republic of Korea and Rwanda.
The only real contest in the balloting was among New Zealand, Spain and Turkey for two seats from the Western European and Others Group (WEOG). New Zealand handily won on the first ballot with 145 votes, while Spain failed to qualify with its 121 votes as did Turkey with its 109.
Five non-permanent members are elected every year to join the five permanent and veto-wielding members of Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States.
The United Nations has 193 member states and a two-thirds majority of 129 votes is needed among the 193 members voting in the WEOG election.
Spain with 132 votes won over Turkey’s 60 votes on a third ballot which required a two-thirds majority of 128 votes out of the total 192 valid ballots cast. There was one abstention.
Angola, Malaysia and Venezuela were virtually assured of victory because they had been put forward by their regional groupings of Africa, Asia and Latin America.
Angola tallied 190 votes and Malaysia 187 out of the necessary two-thirds majority of 128 with 192 members present for voting. There was one abstention and one vote written in for Congo.
Venezuela garnered 181 of the 182 valid ballots cast, with 10 abstentions, and one write-in for Brazil. The two-thirds necessary majority was 122. The abstentions were generally regarded as a protest vote against the Bolivarian Republic.
The entire procedure of the balloting took about two and a half hours.
Venezuelan Foreign Minister Rafael Ramirez Correno told reporters outside the General Assembly Hall his country’s ” overwhelming triumph” showed “the international support that remains towards our position of peace and security” and was being dedicated to the late Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez.
“The international community has backed the tireless effort of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela against the intervention into the internal affairs of the state as well as the use of coercive and unilateral measures against the country, measures in economic, political and other types to restrain the free will of the country, ” he said in an apparent reference to the United States. “Once again it has been demonstrated that this organization of international states belongs to all countries.”
Ramirez also said that next year Venezuela “will become the first country in history” to sit in the Security Council while chairing the non-aligned movement.
Venezuela’s easy victory was in sharp contrast to the last time it ran for a council seat. In 2006 it sought a two-year seat, according to Security Council Report (SCR). The balloting then went 47 rounds over two-days with Guatemala pitting against Venezuela and neither reaching two-thirds majority.
Voting was suspended for a week and a compromise candidate, Panama, was put forward, SCR said. On the 48th ballot Panama beat out Venezuela 164-11 with only four for Guatemala, one for Barbados and 10 abstentions.
The greatest number of rounds scored in Security Council balloting was 52 in 1959, SCR said. It was agreed between the candidates to split the two-year term, with Poland serving the first year, resigning at the end of one year and a special election held to allow its old foe Turkey to serve the remaining year of its original term.
Last year, shortly after Saudi Arabia was elected to a non- permanent seat on the Security Council, the country’s Foreign Ministry issued an apology, saying, in an unprecedented move, it would not take the seat.
Riyadh’s rejection of the seat stunned delegates and observers alike.
In a letter to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Saudi Arabia cited what it called the Security Council’s double standards in failing to address the Syrian conflict, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the proliferation of weapons in the Middle East.
Jordan stepped in and said it would serve in place of Saudi Arabia. After being endorsed by the Arab and Asia-Pacific Groups, Jordan was elected by the General Assembly to the four-year term Saudi Arabia rejected.