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:
Two for African countries (held by Gabon and the Gambia), with one of them being the "Arab swing seat"
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 vote, the President of the General Assembly, Mr. Gurirab informed the General Assembly of the candidates as follows: Bangladesh, Mali, and Tunisia from the African and Asian States as endorsed candidates, Jamaica from the Latin American and Caribbean States as the endorsed candidate, and Slovakia and the Ukraine from the Eastern European States as candidates not enjoying the full endorsement of their respective regional group.
Prior to the fourth round of voting, Mr. Tomka of Slovakia rose to speak. He thanked all the delegations for their support for Slovakia's bid for Security Council membership, and then formally withdrew their candidacy, wishing the Ukraine well.