Nigeria and four other countries- Bosnia, Brazil, Gabon, and Lebanon were elected Thursday to non-permanent seats on the U.N. Security Council, serving a two-year terms starting January 1 participating in decisions ranging from deploying U.N. peacekeepers to imposing sanctions.
This year’s vote lacked the suspense of some previous elections, because all five candidates were unopposed and succeeded in getting the two-thirds majority required in the first round of secret ballots.
Ten of the council’s 15-seats are filled by regional representatives for two-year terms. The other five seats are permanent ones held by veto-wielding members Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States.
British Ambassador John Sawers said the additions to the council will make it even stronger.
“We have two large countries in Brazil and Nigeria who carry the weight of being a regional power,” he said. “We have two countries in Lebanon and Bosnia who have been through conflict and can bring their own national experiences to the Security Council.”
Lebanon and Bosnia and Herzegovina, are in the unusual position of also being on the council’s agenda.
Bosnia is a multiethnic country still recovering from the war that accompanied the break-up of Yugoslavia. It has experienced internal divisions and rising tensions in the past year, as major political parties struggle to agree on a basic political structure.
Nigeria has served three times before. Foreign Minister Ojo Maduekwe said his country would work to prevent crises and conflicts, deal with human rights issues and generally promote international solidarity.
“We intend that working with all the other members of the U.N. Security Council,” he said. “Our preventive diplomacy will be central to our approach to a lot of issues.”
Nominations for non-permanent seats are not required, countries simply announce their intention to run. Consideration is given to an equitable geographical distribution and a candidate’s contribution to the maintenance of international peace and security.
The five new members are replacing out-going council members Burkina Faso, Costa Rica, Croatia, Libya and Vietnam. In addition to the five permanent council members, they will join Austria, Mexico, Japan, Turkey and Uganda on the 15-member council.