The UN General Meeting adopted a new voting procedure Friday for the upcoming election of new members of the Security Council aimed at preventing a large gathering and ensuring social distancing right through the Covid-19 pandemic.
Instead of assembly in the horseshoe-shaped meeting chamber at UN headquarters overlooking New York’s East River, ambassadors from the 193 UN member nations will cast secret ballots at a designated venue right through spaced-out time slots.
And they are going to be voting not only for five non-permanent members of the Security Council to serve two-year terms but for 18 new members of the 54-nation Economic and Social Council to serve three-year terms.
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According to the new procedure, the president of the General Meeting will send a letter to all member states a minimum of 10 working days before the first round of secret balloting for the two elections to notify them of the date, venue where ballots will have to be cast, and other applicable information.
The Security Council election had been scheduled for June 17, but it’s unclear if that will remain the date.
The Security Council has five permanent members — the USA, Russia, China, Britain and France — and 10 members elected by the General Meeting for two-year terms. Five countries are elected annually.
The council is the UN’s most powerful body and winning a seat is a pinnacle of achievement for lots of countries because it gives them a strong voice on issues of international peace and security ranging from conflicts in Syria, Yemen and Ukraine to the nuclear threat posed by North Korea and Iran, and attacks by extremist groups such as the Islamic State and al-Qaida.
This year seven countries are vying for five seats, and there are two hotly contested races.
In the group of Western nation, Canada, Ireland and Norway are battling for two seats, and in Africa, Kenya and Djibouti are competing for one seat. India is running unopposed for the Asia-Pacific seat and Mexico is running unopposed for the seat for Latin The us and the Caribbean.