On June 6, the United Nations General Assembly elected Algeria, Guyana, Sierra Leone, Slovenia, and South Korea to the UN Security Council for two-year terms beginning on January 1 2024. Belarus, which is allied with Russia in its invasion of Ukraine, was refused a seat.
Algeria, Guyana, Sierra Leone, and South Korea stood unopposed for a seat on the 15-member group tasked with ensuring global peace and security. Slovenia defeated Belarus in the sole competitive race. Albania, Brazil, Gabon, Ghana, and the United Arab Emirates will be replaced by the five elected states.
The Security Council is the UN body with the authority to impose sanctions and authorize the use of force. It consists of five permanent members with a right of veto: the United Kingdom, China, France, Russia, and the United States.
Seats are assigned to regional groups to ensure geographical representation. Even if candidates run unopposed in their party, they must gain the support of more than two-thirds of the General Assembly.
Guyana received 191 votes, Sierra Leone received 188 votes, Algeria received 184 votes, and South Korea received 180 votes.
Slovenia, an EU member, received 153 votes, defeating Belarus, which garnered 38 votes.
Belarus had been the unchallenged contender for the Eastern European seat in 2024/25 since 2007. Slovenia entered the contest in December 2021 following a violent assault by Belarus authorities on protesters following a presidential election in 2020.
Since then, Russia has utilized Belarus as a staging area for an invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.
“The Russians have always argued that a lot of states support Ukraine in public at the UN but sympathize with Russia in private. But this secret ballot does not support that claim at all,” International Crisis Group UN Director Richard Gowan stated.
Last month, Russia announced plans to deploy tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus. It is the Kremlin’s first deployment of such weapons outside of Russia since the Soviet Union’s dissolution in 1991.