Kenya has defeated Djibouti to get elected to the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), after the UN General Assembly (UNGA) failed to choose between the two candidates during a first round.
In Thursday’s vote for the 15-member council’s Africa seat, Kenya received 129 votes against Djibouti’s 62.
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A first-round vote held the previous day had seen both countries failing to receive the required two-thirds majority of 128 votes.
Kenya now joins Norway, Ireland, India and Mexico, which were elected on Wednesday as non-permanent members for a two-year term starting on January 1, 2021.
The East African country will replace South Africa.
In previous years, ambassadors from all UN member states had gathered in its vast UNGA chamber to vote by secret ballot, but the coronavirus pandemic forced the world body to adopt new rules.
To avoid a large gathering and ensure physical distancing, ambassadors wearing masks were given time slots for voting and spread out in the chamber to mark their ballots.
The UNSC has five permanent, veto-wielding members – China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States – and 10 elected members with seats allocated to regional groups and five new members elected every year.
It is the only UN body that can make legally binding decisions such as imposing sanctions and authorising the use of force.
The number of women on the council will double from two currently – US Ambassador Kelly Craft and St Vincent and the Grenadines’ Rhonda King – to four when Norway’s Mona Juul and Ireland’s Geraldine Byrne Nason join in January.