October 2007 Monthly Forecast

Posted 28 September 2007
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THE SECURITY COUNCIL

Security Council Elections 2007

Expected Action
On 16 October 2007 the General Assembly will hold elections for five non-permanent seats on the Security Council.

Background
The five new members elected this year will replace the Republic of Congo, Ghana, Peru, Qatar and Slovakia in 2008.

The candidates running are:

  • Vietnam for the one Asian seat;
  • Croatia and Czech Republic for the one Eastern European seat;
  • Costa Rica and Dominican Republic for the one Latin American seat; and
  • Libya and Burkina Faso for the two African seats.

As it stands, Vietnam, Libya and Burkina Faso are almost assured of being elected to the Council as they are all endorsed candidates and are in a “clean slate” situation with no other candidates.  However, because these are elections to a “Principal Organ” of the United Nations, formal balloting and a two-thirds majority are required. (Please see our 12 September 2007 Special Research Report for more details about regional groups, seat allocation and voting procedure.)

There will be a contest for the remaining two seats between Croatia and the Czech Republic for the Eastern European seat and Costa Rica and the Dominican Republic for the Group of Latin American and Caribbean States seat.

Recent Developments
Until last month it looked like three candidates would contest the two African seats. Mauritania unexpectedly challenged Burkina Faso and Libya in April despite the fact that they had been endorsed by the African Union Summit in January 2007 and June 2006 respectively. However, in September Mauritania announced its withdrawal on the understanding that Libya would support its candidature for the period 2012-13. 

Croatia and the Czech Republic are both strongly canvassing support to persuade countries that are undecided.  Most observers expect this election to be close and to go to several rounds before a winner emerges.

Costa Rica and the Dominican Republic are still both in the race.  But most observers believe that it will not develop into multiple rounds of voting like last year’s contest between Venezuela and Guatemala.

Key Issues of Interest to the Candidates
Countries assured of election have already signalled issues of interest once they are on the Council.

Vietnam seems interested in comprehensive Council reform including more efficient working methods, the interests of developing countries and wider participation of non-permanent members.  As a member of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), Vietnam is likely to take up issues of interest to the two organisations. Since Indonesia, also an ASEAN and NAM member, will overlap with Vietnam in the Council in 2008 there might be scope for the two countries to work together on areas of common interest.

Libya is hoping to contribute substantively to discussions on key Council issues like Darfur and Chad and feels it can play a role in bringing the parties together. It is also interested in becoming involved in issues related to Iran.

A key issue of Burkina Faso as a Council member is likely to be Côte d’Ivoire and other West African issues. This year as Chair of the Economic Community of West African States it showed a keen interest in playing a role in the peace process by facilitating the Ouagadougou agreement in March 2007.

UN Documents

 Selected General Assembly Documents
  • A/61/PV.37 (19 October 2006), A/61/PV.45  (2 November 2006), and A/61/PV.37 (19 October 2006) were the plenary records of the most recent elections of non- permanent members.
  • A/RES 1991 A(XVIII  (17 December 1963) was the resolution adopting amendments to the Charter on the composition of the Council and establishing the allocation of seats to various regions.
 Other

 Useful Additional Sources

  • Circular Third Person Note from Mauritania on its decision to withdraw its candidature for the Security Council, 8 September 2007
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