The UN General Assembly has elected Egypt, Japan, Senegal, Ukraine and Uruguay to serve as non-permanent members on the Security Council for two-year terms beginning January 1 next year. The new members, elected in one round of voting here on Thursday, will serve until December 31, 2017.
The five overall seats available for election in 2015, distributed regionally, were: two seats for the African Group (currently held by Chad and Nigeria); one seat for the Asia-Pacific Group (currently held by Jordan); one seat for the Group of Latin American and Caribbean States (currently held by Chile); and one seat for the Eastern European Group (currently held by Lithuania).
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The Western European and Others Group is contesting no seats this year, as its two seats (currently held by New Zealand and Spain) are up for election every even calendar year.
The five permanent Council members, which each wield the power of veto, are China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States.
The non-permanent members that will remain on the Council until the end of 2016 are Angola, Malaysia, New Zealand, Spain and Venezuela.
India has led the charge among developing nations to press for reform of the Security Council to make it more representative and in line with the realities of the 21st century.
Last month, the 193 member General Assembly adopted by consensus a resolution to commence negotiations in the 70th session of the UNGA on Security Council reform on the basis of a text that would have the positions of various nations on the increase in the number of permanent and non-permanent seats and use of veto in a reformed Council.
Under the UN Charter, the Security Council has primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security. Each of the Council’s members has one vote. Under the Charter, all UN Member States are obligated to comply with Council decisions.
The Security Council takes the lead in determining the existence of a threat to the peace or act of aggression. It calls upon the parties to a dispute to settle it by peaceful means and recommends methods of adjustment or terms of settlement.
In some cases, the Security Council can resort to imposing sanctions or even authorize the use of force to maintain or restore international peace and security.
The Security Council also recommends to the General Assembly the appointment of the Secretary-General and the admission of new Members to the United Nations. And, together with the General Assembly, it elects the judges of the International Court of Justice.