United Nations Security Council election, January 1946
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all six non-permanent seats on the United Nations Security Council
Composition of the UNSC after the 1946 January election
The first ever United Nations Security Council elections were held on 12 January 1946 during the 1st session of the United Nations General Assembly, held at Westminster Central Hall in the City of Westminster, London, England, United Kingdom. The elections were for six non-permanent seats on the UN Security Council for two- and one-year mandates commencing immediately upon election, and to expire upon the date of the next elections, in November 1946 and September 1947, respectively.
Voting on membership
The election was managed by the then-President of the United Nations General Assembly Paul-Henri Spaak of Belgium. All 51 then-members were to write the names of the six nations they wished to elect to the Security Council. No previous candidacies were made. New Zealand expressed its wishes for a member from the South Pacific to be elected, with Australia being the "obvious choice" in their opinion, and themselves refraining from candidacy. The representative of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic made a proposal for the membership to be elected, consisting of Brazil, Egypt, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway, and Poland. Following this proposal, the representatives of both New Zealand and Norway declined of candidating themselves.
The results of the votes were as follows:
with 50 valid and one not valid papers, one paper being valid with only 4 names on it:
This resulted in the election of Brazil, Egypt, Mexico, the Netherlands, and Poland to the Council, all of them having achieved the requisite two-thirds majority of 34 votes. One seat remained to be filled, and the rules required for that one nation to be elected from the two most successful candidates not elected; that is, Australia or Canada. This was to be decided upon in a second vote.
with 50 valid and one not valid papers:
This round was inconclusive, as neither nation obtained the required 34 votes.
with 51 valid papers:
This round was also inconclusive, however, Canada then retired its candidacy.
with 49 valid and two not valid papers:
Australia was thus elected as the sixth non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council.
Voting on term length
After the six members were elected, a second vote was to decide which states were to serve for a one-year, and which for a two-year term. This was to divide the membership of the Council in two groups by phase of their terms, so that not all members would have to be elected at the same time. All 51 then-members were to vote for the nations they wished to elect for a two-year term, with those not achieving the required number of votes left to serve a one-year term. During the meeting, it was decided that a simple majority was sufficient to ensure election. The voting results were as follows:
with 47 valid and 4 not valid papers:
Australia and Brazil won a simple majority of over 24 votes, thus securing two-year mandates, and the third such mandate is to be assigned to either the Netherlands or Poland in a new round of voting.
with 50 valid and one not valid papers:
With the two candidates having obtained the same number of votes, and the requisite majority being 26 votes, the rules called for the President of the General Assembly to draw lots. This was done, and Poland was drawn. This gave the following end result: Australia, Brazil, and Poland were to serve until the September 1947 election for the United Nations Security Council, with a two-year term, and Egypt, Mexico, and the Netherlands until the September 1946 elections, with a one-year term.
- List of members of the United Nations Security Council
- Australia and the United Nations
- Brazil and the United Nations
- Mexico and the United Nations