October 2010 Monthly Forecast

Posted 30 September 2010
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Security Council Elections

Expected Action
The General Assembly is expected to hold elections on 12 October for five members of the Security Council. The five new members will take up their seats on 1 January and will serve on the Security Council for the period 2011-2012.

(Please see our Special Research Report on Security Council Elections 2010 published on 17 September. This report gives detailed background about the election process.)

The five seats available for election in 2010 will be distributed regionally as follows:

  • one seat for Africa (currently held by Uganda);
  • one seat for Asia (currently held by Japan);
  • one seat for the Group of Latin American and Caribbean States (GRULAC), (currently held by Mexico); and
  • two seats for the Western European and Others Group (WEOG), (currently held by Austria and Turkey).

It appears that only the WEOG seats will be contested, with three candidates for two seats: Canada, Germany and Portugal.

The uncontested seats are South Africa for the African seat, India for the Asian seat and Colombia for the GRULAC seat:

  • South Africa was endorsed by the AU in February 2010 as the candidate for the African seat. (South Africa has had one term on the Council, in 2007-2008, and was a founding member of the UN);
  • India received endorsement from the Asian Group in February 2010 (India is one of the founding members of the UN and has served six terms on the Council, most recently in 1991-1992); and
  • Colombia is the only candidate for the GRULAC seat (at press time it has not yet received regional endorsement from the group). Colombia is one of the founding members of the UN and has had six terms on the Council, most recently in 2001-2002.

By contrast the two WEOG seats are contested by three candidates:

  • Canada (one of the founding members of the UN, which has served on the Council every decade since, most recently in 1999-2000);
  • Germany, which served on the Council most recently in 2003-2004 (both the Federal Republic of Germany [or West Germany] and the German Democratic Republic [or East Germany] were admitted to the UN on 18 September 1973 and united to form one sovereign state effective 3 October 1990; if East Germany’s one term on the Council in 1980-1981 is included, Germany has served five terms on the Council); and
  • Portugal, which has served two terms on the Council, in 1979-1980 and 1997-1998 (Portugal was admitted to the UN on 14 December 1955).

The table below indicates the number of available seats by region, the declared candidates and their previous experience on the Council.


Available Seats in the 2010 Election

States Running

Years Served Previously

on the Council



South Africa

One term of two years




Six terms comprising 12 years
(1950-1951, 1967-1968, 1972-1973, 1977-1978, 1984-1985, 1991-1992)

Latin American and Caribbean



Six terms comprising 12 years
(1947-1948, 1953-1954, 1957-1958, 1969-1970, 1989-1990, 2001-2002)

Western European and Others Group





Six terms comprising 12 years
(1948-1949, 1958-1959, 1967-1968, 1977-1978, 1989-1990, 1999-2000)

Four terms comprising eight years*
(1977-1978, 1987-1988, 1995-1996, 2003-2004) (*NB: East Germany represented the Eastern European Group in 1980-1981)

Two terms comprising four years
(1979-1980, 1997-1998)

The Council in 2011
The composition of the Council in 2011 is expected to be highly interesting. Brazil, India, Nigeria and South Africa will be on the Council concurrently. All four are major emerging countries and key stakeholders in both regional and global institutions. In addition, if Canada and Germany were to join them this would put ten members of the G20 in the Council concurrently.

Moreover, five UN members who have asserted bids for permanent Council membership could be on the Council in 2011.

2011 could see the strongest group of global stakeholders ever assembled on the Council. This could create a unique positive dynamic. But it is difficult to predict whether it will foster a more proactive and effective Security Council.

Special Research Report No. 3 on Security Council Elections 2010 published on 17 September contained an error. Guatemala is currently expected to be the sole GRULAC candidate for the 2012-2013 term, rather than Ecuador as mistakenly stated.

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