Thursday, October 19, 2006

Political Stalemate - move over NI, make room for Venezuela and Guatemala

While NI politicians battle it out over loyalty oaths, and we look forward to the prospect of a referendum and/or elections in March 2007, spare a thought for another political wrangle being played out at the United Nations in New York.

It's shuffle time on the UN Security Council. While some seats go uncontested, others are being closely fought.

  • South Africa replaced Tanzania.
  • Belgium and Italy replaced Denmark and Greece.
  • Indonesia defeated Nepal in a contest to replace Japan.
But so far there's stalemate as Venezuela (76 votes) lag behind Guatemala (108 votes) for the Latin American & Caribbean seat. The US are backing Guatemala in an attempt to squeeze out the mouthy and anti-American Hugo Chavez from Venezuela.

The Venezuelan UN ambassador states that their victory would give impoverished nations "an independent voice needed on the Security Council to fight against the power of money".

It would also provide a global platform for Chavez to continue his outspoken attacks on US - at last month's opening of the UN General Assembly he called Bush "the devil" and added that he could still smell the sulphur on the podium where Bush had spoken the day before!

With a seat, Venezuela could disrupt the Security Council's ability to publish policy statements that need unanimity, but wouldn't effect the passing of resolutions - which require nine votes (out of fifteen) and no vetoes (from the permanent members - UK, China, France, Russia, UK and US).

The United State's vigorous lobbying on behalf of Guatemala (though not entirely welcomed by them) isn't helping matters - hardening the Venezuelan resolve to stay in the race and win.

Voting will continue until one country gets the 125 two-thirds majority required, or a compromise candidate is proposed to break the deadlock.

It could be a long contest. 1979 saw 155 rounds of voting over a two month period as Cuba battled with Colombia (though the UN press release mentions Mexico in their press release).

May the best man - country - win. Next votes cast on Thursday.

(Via an article in the complementary International Herald Tribune paper on this morning's delayed Air Berlin flight to Stansted.)

1 comment:

Alan in Belfast said...

Still deadlocked after a further 13 rounds of voting (total of 35) - Guatemala 103, Venezuela 81, target 123.