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Home > Publications > PISM Spotlights > PISM Spotlight: Elections of New Non-Permanent Members of the UN Security Council

PISM Spotlight: Elections of New Non-Permanent Members of the UN Security Council

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09 June 2018
Szymon Zaręba
no. 40/2018

On 8 June, the UN General Assembly elected five new members of the UN Security Council (UNSC) for the 2019-2020 term. The results of these elections are of special significance to Poland because of its current membership of the Security Council.

Who will be replaced and who will join the UNSC?

Candidates are traditionally drawn from five regional groups: the African Group, the Asia-Pacific Group, the Latin America and Caribbean Group, the Western European and Others Group, and the Eastern European Group. Each group has a fixed number of seats and one member of any given group always replaces another country of the same group. The replacement of some members was necessary because their term in office expires at the end of 2018. Among them were Ethiopia (Africa), Kazakhstan (Asia-Pacific), Bolivia (Latin America and Caribbean), and the Netherlands and Sweden (Western Europe and Others). After Friday’s vote, their seats will be taken by, respectively, South Africa, Indonesia, Dominican Republic, Belgium, and Germany.

Was there competition for the seats?

Thanks to earlier diplomatic efforts, the Dominican Republic and South Africa ran unopposed. The former was unanimously supported in August 2017 by representatives of the Latin American and Caribbean countries and the latter in January 2018 by the African Union. Until May 2018, Belgium, Germany, and Israel competed for the two places from the Western Europe and Other Group. Ultimately, Israel withdrew, anticipating a lack of support from non-European developing countries over the likely escalation in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The outcome of the competition for the seat of the Asia-Pacific Group was the only one that was not obvious. While Indonesia was backed by the ASEAN countries, the Maldives sought support, noting that in its 50 years of membership of the UN, the country had never sat on the Security Council.

What does the outcome mean for Poland as a member of the Council?

The five new members joining the UNSC will replace one-third of all current members of the body. From Poland’s point of view, it can hardly be contested that the replacement of Bolivia, which usually joins Russia in the voting in the Council, with the more moderate Dominican Republic will be beneficial. Another promising development was the election of Germany, since it gives a chance for more effective cooperation among European countries in the Council in solving the continent’s problems. On the other hand, Poland’s cooperation with Sweden as members of the Council is ending. This cooperation resulted in several valuable initiatives, including the convening of a meeting dedicated to the developments on the Korean Peninsula in January. The task now is to better identify the positions of all the new members.


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