After a mere 48 rounds of voting the deadlock between bitter rivals Guatemala and Venezuela was resolved as the two nations dropped out of the race, leaving Panama as the compromise candidate and winner on 7 November..
The final round finally gave someone more than the 120 votes needed to clinch the last remaining seat that was up for grabs on the UN Security Council.
164 - Panama
11 - Venezuela
4 - Guatemala
1 - Barbados
Guatemala (publicly supported by the US) and Venezuela (who President Chavez called US President Bush “the devil”) agreed to withdraw from the race in favour of Panama, which they saw as a bridge between the northern and southern nations in Latin America.
Panama’s UN Ambassador Ricardo Alberto Arias said his country would provide “a spirit of understanding the different conflicts that there are in the world, especially those caused by cultural and religious differences.”
With the first votes cast for the Latin American and Caribbean seat cast on 16 October, this was only the third longest standoff in the UN Security Council’s history.
Belgium, Indonesia, Italy, Panama and South Africa - the five nations selected in this year’s round of voting - take their places around the fifteen seat Securitry Council table on 1 January 2007.