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Malaysia Vying For UN Security Council Seat

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UNITED NATIONS: The United Nations is gearing up for a round of elections for places on the Security Council with Malaysia among the countries in contention.

On Thursday (Oct 16) in New York, the 193 member states of the UN’s General Assembly will vote to elect five new members to the 15-man Security Council for a two-year term. The five will join last year’s group and the five permanent members of the United States, Russia, China, the UK and France.

For the countries vying for the five seats, the position is indeed a much sought after prize with the opportunity to be a part of the UN’s most powerful body. At a time when many are turning to the UN for action over issues like Ebola and the self-proclaimed Islamic State, the Security Council’s role in world affairs will be even more crucial in the weeks and months ahead.

The World Health Organization has recently admitted to struggling with the pace of the Ebola outbreak, and as the United Nations gets ready to vote in new members to their most powerful body, the world is turning to the Security Council to bring this crisis under control.

“There are a series of conflicts where, despite their best efforts, the council hasn’t been able to resolve,” said ,” said Paul Romita, Programme Consultant at Security Council Report. “So it’s a critical period.”

And for those at the UN, there is a real belief that the elected countries have a huge role in addressing global issues. “On the whole, member states on the Security Council do feel that their time spend there is well spent – and they have a large amount of influence on how to deal with threats to peace and security,” said Farhan Haq, deputy spokesperson for the Secretary-General.

The five nations are chosen from geographical blocks and with Angola, Venezuela and Malaysia running unopposed in their regions. But the other two seats are set to be hotly contested with New Zealand, Turkey and Spain all fighting for a place on the council.

With their foreign ministers in town doing some last minute lobbying, the vote could go down to the wire. “These countries have campaign strategies that they’re understandably secretive about,” said Mr Romita. “We don’t know how well they’ve run their campaigns often and there are often surprises on election day.”

And as fighting against groups like the Islamic State rage on, these new members will hope to bring new impetus to the UN. Those elected will only become active on Jan 1, 2015 and they will hope to bring their own fresh ideas to the Security Council in solving these global issues.-Channel News Asia

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