Security Council Elections
In the Asian group, with South Korea no longer in the running, the one available seat is being contested by Indonesia and Nepal. In the Group of Latin American and Caribbean States (GRULAC), Guatemala and Venezuela are competing for one seat. South Africa (in the African Group) and Belgium and Italy (in the Western European and Others Group) are assured of seats as their elections are uncontested. (Please see our 14 August Special Research Report for more details about seat allocation and voting procedure.)
The South Korean government on 31 August announced its decision to withdraw its bid for a non-permanent seat on the UN Security Council in order to focus on the contest for the Secretary-General position.
Indonesia is optimistic that it now has the support of many countries that had originally agreed to vote for South Korea. It has been endorsed by ASEAN and the Organisation of the Islamic Conference, and is confident of having strong support from Africa.
Nepal remains cautiously optimistic and is counting on support from South Asia and the landlocked countries. However, there are still concerns about its internal stability.
Guatemala’s campaign has been overshadowed by the very public rift between Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez and the United States, which has been supportive of Guatemala. Venezuela has based its campaign on an anti-US position and has proclaimed the need to bring balance to a unipolar world. Over the last few months, Chávez has personally crossed the globe with offers of friendship, oil deals and financial assistance. Venezuela has said that it has explicit support from China, Russia, Iran, Syria and Cuba as well as MERCOSUR, CARICOM, the Arab League and most African countries. Guatemala is confident of backing from Mexico, Colombia, Central American countries and most of Europe. Undecided countries like Chile, Peru, Panama and Ecuador are being vigorously courted by both countries.
The Asian group contest is likely to be less of a tussle than first envisioned. If Indonesia has estimated its support correctly, the Asian group seat could be resolved without protracted rounds of voting. A possible option is for Nepal to withdraw at the last minute if it is clear that Indonesia has the two-thirds majority (128 of 192 votes) needed.
In the Latin American group, both candidates have enough support to block the other from getting the two-thirds majority, so several rounds of voting are expected. After the third inconclusive ballot of closed voting, according to the Rules of Procedure of the General Assembly, the election can be opened up to new candidates. One option at this stage is for a third candidate from Latin America to be pushed forward in an attempt to break the deadlock. Several possibilities have been suggested but it is unlikely that any country considering this option will show its hand at this stage.