The United Nations General Assembly elected Argentina, Australia, Luxembourg, the Republic of Korea and Rwanda to serve as non-permanent members on the Security Council for two-year terms. They will begin on 1 January 2013, and be a member until 31 December 2014.
Two rounds of secret voting
The vote is secret, with all ballots in paper, and no electronic voting. It took two rounds of balloting before the five new members got the required two-thirds majority of the member states present at the General Assembly at the UN Headquarters in New York.
In the first round, the following got two thirds of the votes:
- For the Group of Latin American and Caribbean States: Argentina (192 votes)
- For the Western European and Other Group: Australia (140 votes)
- For the African Group: Rwanda (148 votes).
The two remaining seats went into a second round, between Luxembourg and Finland on the one hand, and Republic of Korea and Cambodia on the other.
The following got two thirds of the votes:
- For the second seat for the Western European and Other Group: Luxembourg (131 votes)
- For the Asia-Pacific Group: Republic of Korea (149 votes)
The five newly-elected members will replace Colombia, Germany, India, Portugal and South Africa, whose terms end on 31 December 2012.
The Council's role and power
Under the UN Charter, the Security Council has primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security. It has 15 members, each with one vote. Under the Charter, all member states are obligated to comply with Council decisions.
There are five permanent members in the Security Council; China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States. The permanent members each wield the power of veto. In addition there are ten non-permanent members, each for a period of two years.
In addition, the Council takes the lead in determining the existence of a threat to the peace or act of aggression. It calls upon the parties to a dispute to settle it by peaceful means and recommends methods of adjustment or terms of settlement. In some cases, it can resort to imposing sanctions or even authorize the use of force to maintain or restore international peace and security.
The Council also recommends to the General Assembly the appointment of the Secretary-General and the admission of new members to the United Nations. And, together with the General Assembly, it elects the judges of the International Court of Justice (ICJ).
Read more facts on the Security Council here.