In accordance with the General Assembly's rules for the geographic distribution of the non-permanent members of the Security Council, and established practice, the members were to be elected as follows: one from Africa, one from Asia, one from Latin American and the Caribbean Group (GRULAC), and two from the Western European and Others Group (WEOG).
There was a total of eight candidates for the five seats. Only the single seat for the African Group was uncontested; the only candidate was Kenya. India and Japan both put forth their candidacies for the single seat of the Asian Group. Bolivia and Costa Rica were candidates for the single GRULAC seat. For the two seats reserved for the Western European and Others Group, there were three candidates: Australia, Portugal, and Sweden.
The first round of voting was inconclusive, as neither Costa Rica nor Bolivia succeeded at securing a 2/3 majority. However, Edgar Camacho-Omiste of the Bolivian delegation then said to the Assembly that his country had signed an agreement with Costa Rica by which the two countries agreed that support would be given to the delegation obtaining the larger number of votes in the first round of balloting. A second round of voting still occurred.
In the first round, Sweden had won its seat, but the other remaining seat was not determined yet, as neither Portugal nor Australia had secured a 2/3 majority. For this a second round of voting was held.
With Kenya, Japan, and Sweden securing their respective victories in the first round of voting, and India having been defeated, a second round of voting was called for to ascertain the remaining two seats. With Bolivia stepping down from its candidacy, Costa Rica was elected with an overwhelming majority of votes. In the Western European and Others Group, Portugal won over Australia in the second round. This gave the following result: Costa Rica, Japan, Kenya, Portugal, and Sweden were elected to serve two-year terms at the United Nations Security Council commencing 1 January 1997.