UNITED NATIONS, Jun 16 (APP):The UN General Assembly is set to vote on Wednesday to elect five states to two-year terms on the Security Council, beginning on January 1, 2021.

Simultaneously, the 193-member Assembly will be electing new members of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), and the president of its 75th session, which begins in September.

The Security Council has five permanent members — the United States, Russia, China, Britain and France — and 10 nine-non-permanent members elected by the General Assembly, with five members elected every year.

The 10 non-permanent seats are distributed on a regional basis – five for African and Asian States; one for the Eastern European States; two for the Latin American and Caribbean States; and two for Western European and other States.

The voting is by secret ballot.
This year, seven countries are vying for five seats on the 15-member Council, and there are two hotly contested races.

In the group of Western nations, 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 the sole candidate for the Latin America and the Caribbean seat.

Both countries were endorsed by their respective regional groups.
It will be India’s 8th term as non-permanent member of the Council.

Diplomatic sources told APP that the Pakistan Mission, under the leadership of Ambassador Munir Akram, has already launched its candidature for 2025-26 term, election to which will be held in 2024. The year 2012 was the last time Pakistan served on the Council.

In the past, Pakistan was on the Council in 1952–1953 , 1968–1969 , 1976– 1977, 1983–1984 , 1993–1994 , 2003–2004 , 2012–2013.

This year, although India was uncontested, its credentials were seriously questioned by many given its recent bleak track record on human rights violations and its continued repression and lockdown in Occupied Jammu and Kashmir, as also its discriminatory policies vis-a-vis the country’s Muslims and other minorities.

The General Assembly last week adopted a decision to hold the Security Council elections under new voting arrangements taking into account restrictions in place due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Tijjani Muhammad-Bande, the Assembly president, said that the casting of ballots will be webcast, and he will be in the assembly hall overseeing the voting along with tellers who will also be observing the whole process.

The U.N. headquarters complex remains open for essential workers only, as Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has ordered U.N. staff to work from home until June 30.

On Wednesday, the voters will be required to visit the designated venue during a specific time slot to cast their ballots to avoid crowding in the hall. Only ballots cast in the ballot boxes at the designated venue will be accepted and no ballots will be accepted after the last time slot has expired.

If the total number of ballot papers cast in all the ballot boxes do not amount to at least a majority of the members of the Assembly, the President would circulate a letter to all Member States indicating a new date and time for the elections.

Member states will also elect 18 new members of the 54-nation U.N. Economic and Social Council to serve three-year terms. The council, known as ECOSOC, focuses on achieving economic development while preserving the environment and ensuring human rights.

And the U.N. members will also elect the president of the 75th session of the General Assembly.

There is only one candidate — veteran Turkish diplomat and politician Volkan Bozkir — and his name was initially sent to member states for unanimous approval, but a few countries requested a vote.

Diplomatic sources identified the three countries as Greece, Cyprus and Armenia.