India set to re-enter UN Security Council
India is assured a win being the sole contender for the Asia Pacific seat in the non-permanent category of the UN Security Council when the General Assembly hold elections for the five non-permanent members of the Security Council on June 17 under the new voting arrangements due to the coronavirus restrictions. Previously, India has been elected as a non-permanent member of the Council for the years 1950—1951, 1967—1968, 1972—1973, 1977—1978, 1984—1985, 1991—1992 and 2011—2012.
- Canada, Ireland and Norway are vying for two seats in the Western Europe and other countries category. Mexico is the only candidate for the one Latin America and Caribbean seat and Kenya and Djibouti will contest the seat available for the African group.
- The 2021-22 term will be critical for India which has been pushing efforts to reform the Security Council and seek a permanent membership of the Council.
- Support for India has been increasing with a number of countries advocating that the current UNSC does not represent the geo-political realities of the 21st Century.
- The 193-member General Assembly has decided in this move titled 'Procedure for holding elections by secret ballot without a plenary meeting during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic'.
- According to the decision, the elections of non-permanent members to the Security Council and the election of members to the Economic and Social Council will be held simultaneously without a plenary meeting.
- India is a candidate for a non-permanent seat for 2021-22 and its victory is assured as it is the only candidate for the lone seat from the Asia Pacific grouping, officials added. Delhi's candidature was unanimously endorsed in June last year by the 55 members of the Asia-Pacific grouping.
- The UNSC elections are traditionally held in the General Assembly hall with each of the 193 member states casting its vote in a secret ballot. But large in-person meetings at the UN headquarters are postponed till the end of June due to the coronavirus.
- As per the new voting arrangement, President of the UN General Assembly Tijjani Muhammad-Bande will circulate a letter to all Member States at least 10 working days prior to the first round of the secret balloting, informing them of the date on which the elections will be held, the number of vacant seats, the venue where ballots may be cast and other logistical details.
- On the day of the elections, the voter will be required to visit the designated venue during a specific time slot to cast its ballots. Only ballots cast in the ballot boxes at the designated venues will be accepted and no ballots would 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.
- The General Assembly President will circulate a letter to all Member States informing them of the results once the voting is complete and the ballots counted.
- Each year the General Assembly elects five non-permanent members (out of 10 in total) for a two-year term.
- The 10 non-permanent seats are distributed on a regional basis - five for African and Asian States; one for Eastern European States; two for the Latin American and Caribbean States; and two for Western European and other States.