Canada loses bid for seat on UN Security Council

Neither Kenya nor Djibouti gained required 2/3 majority for UN Security Council term; new round of voting needed

Despite an intense and costly diplomatic push, Canada has lost its bid for a coveted seat on the United Nations Security Council.

Canada lost out to Ireland and Norway in a hotly contested election in the council’s “Western European and others” group. India and Mexico’s uncontested bids for the Asia-Pacific and Latin America and the Caribbean seats were approved.

Neither Kenya nor Djibouti on Wednesday gained the required two-thirds majority to win the Africa seat on the 15-member council, meaning another round of voting is needed on Thursday.

Countries need the support of at least two-thirds of the General Assembly to get elected to the council.

Norway and Ireland won the two available temporary seats, with 130 and 128 votes respectively. Canada won 108 votes, falling 20 short of the 128 needed to win a spot at the table.

To ensure geographical representation, seats are allocated to regional groups. But even if candidates are running unopposed in their group, they still need to win the support of more than two-thirds of the UN General Assembly.

The new members will start their term on January 1, 2010.

It’s a heavy blow for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Foreign Affairs Minister François-Philippe Champagne and other high-level officials who had been reaching out to political leaders around the world in a campaign to secure one of the two available rotating seats.

The Security Council is the only UN body that can make legally binding decisions such as imposing sanctions and authorising the use of force. It has five permanent veto-wielding members – the United States, the UK, France, China and Russia.

African countries have in the past picked their own candidate but were unable to put forward a single country this time, setting the stage for Wednesday’s showdown.

Kenya boasts of enjoying the support of the African Union, but Djibouti said it should have the seat due to Nairobi’s past participation on the Security Council and the principle of rotation.

Both countries are highlighting their roles in seeking peace on the Horn of Africa, as well as their contributions to UN peacekeeping options.


~Wakenya Canada

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