Turkey has failed in its effort to join the UN Security Council while Venezuela, New Zealand, Spain, Angola and Malaysia were elected to the organisation’s most powerful body.
Neither Turkey nor Spain got enough votes in the first or second ballot of the election by the General Assembly’s 193 member states, held on Wednesday.
They were competing with New Zealand for two seats in their group, called “Western Europe and Others”. New Zealand gained a seat on the first ballot, with 145 votes, while Spain made it on the third.
Special attention had been on Turkey, which is under growing pressure to do more about the war in Syria pushing up against its border. The Turkish mission to the UN was not available for immediate comment.
The five new members will join the Security Council on January 1 and serve through to 2016 without power of veto. They replace Argentina, Australia, Luxembourg, South Korea and Rwanda.
New Zealand said it was “obviously touched” to receive such strong support for its bid.
Venezuela’s government was unopposed for the single seat allocated to Latin America and the Caribbean. Angola was the only candidate for an African seat, and Malaysia had no opposition for an Asian seat.
With Venezuela’s victory, Russia and China has a potential ally on some international issues that have put them at odds with the three Western permanent members – the US, UK and France.
Nicolas Maduro, Venezuela’s president, has ties with Iran and Syria, and has strongly supported Russia in the Ukraine crisis. Venezuela’s foreign minister, Rafael Ramirez, said the win came despite a “malign campaign against our country”.
The US, which publicly opposed Venezuela’s last attempt to join the council in 2006, did not do so this time and would not discuss how it voted on Thursday. Ten countries abstained in that vote.
“Venezuela’s conduct at the UN has run counter to the spirit of the UN Charter, and its violations of human rights at home are at odds with the Charter’s letter,” said US ambassador Samantha Power shortly after the vote.
“The US will continue to call upon the government of Venezuela to respect the fundamental freedoms and universal human rights of its people.”