October 2008 Monthly Forecast

Posted 29 September 2008
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Security Council Elections

Expected Action
On 17 October the General Assembly will hold elections for five non-permanent seats on the Security Council. The new members will take their seats on 1 January and will serve for the period 2009-2010.

Please see our Special Research Report of 29 August for a detailed description of the electoral process.

The candidates are:

  • Uganda for the one African seat;
  • Iran and Japan for the one Asian seat;
  • Mexico for the one Latin American seat; and
  • Austria, Iceland and Turkey for the two seats in the Western European and Others (WEOG) Group.

Uganda and Mexico seem assured of being elected to the Council as they are candidates endorsed in their regional groups and face a “clean slate” situation with no other contenders. Nonetheless, since these are elections to a principal organ of the UN, formal balloting and a two-thirds majority are required.

There will be a contest for the remaining three seats: Iran and Japan are seeking the one Asian seat, while Austria, Iceland and Turkey are competing for the two WEOG seats. The WEOG election is being watched with interest as a close fight is expected among the three candidates.

The candidates this year range from one that has never served on the Council to another that has had nine terms. The table below illustrates the number of seats available to each region in the election, the declared candidates, and their previous experience on the Council.

More details about the established practices of the regional groups can be found in our Special Research Report of 29 August.

UN Documents

Selected General Assembly Documents

  • A/63/251 (19 September 2008) was the programme of the plenary for the 63rd General Assembly.
  • A/62/PV.26 (16 October 2007) was the record of the 2007 elections of non-permanent members.
  • A/RES 1991 A(XVIII (17 December 1963) was the resolution adopting amendments to the Charter increasing the number of non-permanent seats on the Council from six to ten, and establishing current allocation of seats to various regions.
  • GAOR 1st Session, Part 1, 14th Plenary Session and Part II (12 January 1946) was the first election of non-permanent members.




Number of Seats Available in 2008

States Running

Number of Years Served on the Council to Date

Latin America & Caribbean



Three terms comprising five years (1946, 1980-81 and 2002-03)

Western Europe and Others








Two terms comprising four years (1973-74 and 1991-92)


Has never served


Three terms comprising five years (1951-52, 1954-55 and 1961 (split term))







One term of two years (1955-56)


Nine terms comprising 18 years (1958-59, 1966-67, 1971-72, 1975-76, 1981-82, 1987-88, 1992-93, 1997-98 and 2005-06)




Two terms comprising three years (1966 (split term) and 1981-82)

Full forecast