Special Research Report

Posted 25 September 2012
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Security Council Elections 2012

Executive Summary

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On 18 October, the General Assembly is expected to hold elections for five members of the Security Council.  The new members will take up their seats on 1 January 2013 and will serve on the Council until 31 December 2014.  

The five available seats up for election in 2012 will be distributed regionally as follows:

  • one seat for the African Group, currently held by South Africa;
  • one seat for the Group of Asia and the Pacific Small Island Developing States (the Asia-Pacific Group), currently held by India;
  • one seat for the Group of Latin American and Caribbean States (GRULAC), currently held by Colombia; and
  • two seats for the Western European and Other Group (WEOG), currently held by Germany and Portugal.

At press time, it appeared that Argentina and Rwanda would enjoy a “clean slate” (uncontested) election.  (Argentina is a member of GRULAC, while Rwanda is part of the African Group.)

  • Argentina, a UN member since 1945, has served on the Council eight times (1948-1949, 1959-1960, 1966-1967, 1971-1972, 1987-1988, 1994-1995, 1999-2000, 2005-2006). 
  • Rwanda, admitted to the UN on 18 September 1962, has served on the Council once (1994-1995).

In contrast, it seems that the other two races will be contested. 

The Asia-Pacific Group has three candidates vying for one available seat:

  • Bhutan, admitted to the UN on 21 September 1971, has never served on the Council.
  • Cambodia, which became a UN member on 14 December 1955, has also never served on the Council.
  • Republic of Korea, which became a UN member on 17 December 1991, has served on the Council once (1996-1997).

Three WEOG candidates–Australia, Finland, and Luxembourg–are competing for two seats:

  • Australia, a member of the UN since 1945, has been on the Council four times (1946-1947, 1956-1957, 1973-1974 and 1985-1986).
  • Finland, a member of the UN since 14 December 1955, has served on the Council twice (1969-1970 and 1989-1990).
  • Luxembourg, a member of the UN since 1945, has never served on the Council.

The table below shows the number of seats available per region in the 2012 election, the declared candidates and their prior terms on the Council.  

Region Seats Available in 2012 States Running and Previous Terms on the Council
Africa 1 Rwanda (1994-1995)
Asia-Pacific 1 Bhutan (never served) Cambodia (never served) Republic of Korea (1996-1997)
Western Europe and Other 2 Australia (1946-1947, 1956-1957, 1973-1974, 1985-1986)  Finland (1969-1970, 1989-1990) Luxembourg (never served)
Latin America and Caribbean 1 Argentina (1948-1949, 1959-1960, 1966-1967, 1971-1972, 1987-1988, 1994-1995, 1999-2000, 2005-2006)