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General Assembly vote on final seat for Security Council suspended

1 November 2006 Today’s vote in the United Nations General Assembly on which country will fill the non-permanent seat on the Security Council for the Latin American and Caribbean region has been suspended until next Tuesday at the request of Guatemala and Venezuela, the frontrunners in a contest that has been going on since last month.

After yesterday’s voting, which brought the total number of rounds to 47 since 16 October, Guatemala continued to maintain its lead over Venezuela but again fell short of the necessary two-thirds majority to serve as the region’s Council member for a two-year term starting 1 January 2007, and replacing Argentina.

In the final round on Tuesday, when 122 votes would have been enough to secure victory, Guatemala obtained 101 votes, Venezuela received 78, and Barbados, Ecuador and Uruguay received one vote each. There were seven abstentions. Guatemala has led in every round so far, with the exception of the sixth round on the first day of voting, when the two countries were tied.

Balloting will continue until a State from the region achieves the required majority. There is no limit to the number of rounds of voting and in 1979-80 there were a record 155 ballots before Mexico was chosen from the Latin American and Caribbean Group to serve a two-year term.

On 16 October Assembly members, following an agreed geographic allocation, elected Belgium, Indonesia, Italy and South Africa to serve as non-permanent members starting 1 January next year. They will replace Denmark, Greece, Japan and Tanzania when their terms end on 31 December.

The Council’s five other non-permanent members, whose terms end on 31 December 2007, are Congo, Ghana, Peru, Qatar and Slovakia. The five permanent members, which are the only members with veto power when voting, are China, France, the Russian Federation, the United Kingdom and the United States.

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