United Nations Security Council election, 1978

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United Nations Security Council election, 1978
United Nations
1977 ←
10 November 1978 → 1979
5 (of 10) non-permanent seats on the United Nations Security Council

SC Membership 1979.png

Members before election

 Mauritius (Africa)
 India (Asia)
 Venezuela (LatAm&Car)
 Canada (WEOG)
 West Germany (WEOG)

New Members

Unsuccessful candidates
 Japan (Asian Group)
 Malta (WEOG)

The 1978 United Nations Security Council election was held on 10 November 1978 during the Thirty-third session of the United Nations General Assembly, held at United Nations Headquarters in New York City. The General Assembly elected Bangladesh, Jamaica, Norway, Portugal, and Zambia, as the five new non-permanent members of the UN Security Council for two-year mandates commencing on 1 January 1979.


The Security Council has 15 seats, filled by five permanent members and ten non-permanent members. Each year, half of the non-permanent members are elected for two-year terms.[1][2] A sitting member may not immediately run for re-election.[3]

In accordance with the rules whereby the ten non-permanent UNSC seats rotate among the various regional blocs into which UN member states traditionally divide themselves for voting and representation purposes,[4] the five available seats are allocated as follows:

To be elected, a candidate must receive a two-thirds majority of those present and voting. If the vote is inconclusive after the first round, three rounds of restricted voting shall take place, followed by three rounds of unrestricted voting, and so on, until a result has been obtained. In restricted voting, only official candidates may be voted on, while in unrestricted voting, any member of the given regional group, with the exception of current Council members, may be voted on.


Prior to the election, Mr. Francis of New Zealand, in his capacity as chairman for the month of the Western European and Others Group, informed the General Assembly that there were three candidates from the group to the two vacancies, namely Malta, Norway, and Portugal. Next, Mr. Albornoz of Ecuador spoke for the Latin American Group and named Jamaica as the group's endorsed and single candidate.[6]


The election was managed by then-President of the United Nations General Assembly Indalecio Liévano of Colombia. The United Nations had 151 member states at this time (for a timeline of UN membership, see Enlargement of the United Nations). Voting was conducted on single ballots. Ballots containing more states from a certain region than seats allocated to that region were invalidated.[6][7]

In the first round of voting, Jamaica, Norway, and Zambia were elected, but the results for the Asian and Western European groups were inconclusive. In the second round, voting was restricted to the two most successful candidates of each group, namely Bangladesh and Japan for Asia, and Malta and Portugal for Western Europe, respectively. This second round of voting was also inconclusive, and the meeting rose.[6]

Later the same day, on the 51st plenary meeting, prior to the third round of voting, Mr. Abe of Japan rose to speak and withdrew Japan's candidature, also stating that "the Government of Japan hopes to serve on the Security Council when there is an appropriate opportunity in the future". Hence Bangladesh was elected in the third round (second restricted), while the results for Western Europe remained inconclusive. Mr. Huq of Bangladesh rose to speak to thank the member states on the election and Japan on their withdrawal. The fourth round (third restricted) was also inconclusive. In the fifth round (unrestricted), Portugal was elected, and the election was concluded.[7]

Member Round 1[6] Round 2[6] Round 3[7] Round 4[7] Round 5[7]
 Jamaica 145
 Zambia 144
 Norway 118
 Bangladesh 84 87 125
 Portugal 84 77 81 93 99
 Malta 81 70 59 51 45
 Japan 65 61 2
 Comoros 1
 Peru 1
abstentions 0 0 1 1 2
invalid ballots 0 0 0 0 0
required majority 100 100 94 96 96
ballot papers 149 149 142 145 146

See also[edit]


External links[edit]

  • UN Document A/59/881 Note Verbale from the Permanent Mission of Costa Rica containing a record of Security Council elections up to 2004