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Kenya Wins UN Security Council Seat, Replace South Africa

Kenya won against Djibouti to get the Africa spot with 129 votes and 69 respectively, after the UN General Assembly (UNGA) failed to choose between the two candidates during a first round. 

After operating virtually since March amid the coronavirus pandemic, diplomats – wearing masks and social distancing – returned to the General Assembly hall on Wednesday and Thursday to cast their secret ballots at allotted times.

India, Ireland, Mexico and Norway all won their bids in first-round voting on Wednesday, but neither Kenya nor Djibouti attained the two-thirds majority needed in the U.N. General Assembly to take a seat designated for Africa on the powerful 15-nation council.

The East Africa country now joins Norway, Ireland, India and Mexico, which were elected on Wednesday as non-permanent members for a two-year term starting on January 1, 2021.

In the first round of voting on Wednesday, Ireland and Norway also had a tight race with Canada over two available seats for their regional group. Mexico and India ran unopposed. Seats are allocated by regional blocs and groups often agree on a common candidate among themselves to put up uncontested.

The newly elected countries will replace exiting council members Belgium, Dominican Republic, Germany, Indonesia and South Africa. They will join current non-permanent members Estonia, Niger, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Tunisia and Vietnam, and permanent members.

The Security Council is the only U.N. body that can make legally binding decisions like imposing sanctions and authorizing the use of force. It has five permanent veto-wielding members – the United States, Britain, France, China and Russia.

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