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. A sitting member may not immediately run for re-election.
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, 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, the Chairmen of the respective Regional Groups conveyed to the General Assembly what nations they were endorsing as candidates for membership on the Security Council. Mr. Mumbengegwi of Zimbabwe gave the endorsement of the African Group to Rwanda from the central Africa region, but gave no endorsement to either Guinea-Bissau or Nigeria, both of which were stated to be candidates, and both from the west Africa region. Mr. Wisnumurti of Indonesia gave the endorsement of the Asian Group to Oman. Mr. Vorontsov, the then-Permanent Representative of Russia to the United Nations, gave word of the candidacies of both Belarus and the Czech Republic of the Eastern European Group. Mr. Remìrez de Estenoz of Cuba gave the endorsement of the Latin American and Caribbean Group to Argentina.
For the elections, 176 ballots were distributed in the first three rounds, while in the fourth round this was 162 ballots. There was a recess held between rounds three and four. Prior to the fourth round, Mr. Touré of Guinea-Bissau rose to speak. He claimed that only Rwanda and Guinea-Bissau were valid candidates of the African Group. He then withdrew his nation's candidacy "in a spirit of preserving the repute and higher interests of Africa". Mr. Gambari of Nigeria then claimed that both Guinea-Bissau and Nigeria were recognised as candidates by the Council of Ministers of the Organisation of African Unity. After hearing the two speakers, the General Assembly continued with the vote.