United Nations, June 28 (IANS) Thailand and Kazakhstan were deadlocked in the hotly-contested race for the Security Council seat, with neither getting the two-thirds of the votes in the first round of balloting in the 193-member General Assembly.
The two nations along with the Netherlands and Italy, which are contesting one of two European seats, went into the second round after Bolivia was elected to the Latin American-Caribbean seat, Ethiopia to the African slot and Sweden to other European seat.
Kazakhstan was ahead with 113 votes to Thailand’s 77, while the Netherlands polled 125 to Italy’s 113, against Sweden’s winning 134 that met the two-thirds bar for one of the seats.
Ethiopia was unanimously proposed by the African group and Bolivia by the Latin American-Caribbean bloc, making the voting a formality.
Half of the 10 non-permanent seats with two-year terms come up for election every year. The elections used to be held in October, but the General Assembly moved them to June starting this year to give the new members more preparation time before they take their seats on the Council on New Year’s Day.
The winds of change blowing across the UN parting in its wake the veils of secrecy led to the candidates for the contested seats participating in campaign debates held for the first time at the UN. It was sponsored by the World Federation of UN Associations (WFUNA).
The debates brought to a public forum the campaigning that began years ago. Bangkok started lobbying for the Council seat as far back as 2013.
Thailand is currently the head of the Group of 77, the 134-member group of developing countries, but this failed to give it the needed two-thirds votes in the first round.
Kazakhstan’s pitch has been that it would be the first former Soviet Asian nation on the Council if elected. It also campaigned on its role in nuclear disarmament, having given up its nuclear weapon stockpile and promoting disarmament.
Whichever Asian nation is elected will succeed Malaysia.