Panama today emerged as the compromise candidate to fill the last remaining
seat on the 15-member United Nations Security Council, breaking more than
two weeks and 47 rounds of voting deadlock in the General Assembly that
pitted Guatemala against Venezuela to represent the Latin American and
The foreign ministers of the two rival countries decided to withdraw their
candidatures at a meeting in New York and proposed Panama to the Group of
Latin American and Caribbean States, General Assembly spokesperson Gail
Bindley-Taylor Sainte told a news briefing.
“Both Ministers stressed that Panama was chosen as it was a country with
which both nations had close ties,” she added.
The 192-member Assembly is expected to proceed with a formal vote on the
consensus candidate on Tuesday.
Throughout the earlier voting Guatemala maintained its lead over Venezuela,
except in one tie vote, but was never able to reach the necessary
two-thirds majority to serve as the region’s member for a two-year term
starting on 1 January, 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
At the start of this year’s balloting on 16 October Assembly members,
following an agreed geographic allocation, elected Belgium, Indonesia,
Italy and South Africa to serve as new non-permanent members, replacing
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, the only ones with veto power when voting, are China,
France, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States.