The UN General Assembly elected on Tuesday Libya, Burkina Faso, Vietnam, Costa Rica and Croatia to serve as non-permanent members of the Security Council for two-year terms starting next Jan. 1.
Announcing the results of the first round in the African and Asian category, where three seats were available, General Assembly President Srgjan Kerim said Burkina Faso had received 185 votes out of a possible 190, while Vietnam picked up 183 and Libya received 178.
The three countries, which replace Congo, Ghana and Qatar when their terms expire at the end of this year, were the only declared candidates for the region.
However, two other non-permanent seats, awarded to one Eastern European country and one member of the Latin American and Caribbean States grouping, remained in contention after no nations were able to obtain the necessary two-thirds majority during the first round of voting Tuesday morning.
In the Eastern European category, where 124 votes were needed for victory, Croatia received 95 and the Czech Republic picked up91 in the first round, and in the second round the vote was 106 for Croatia and 81 for the Czech Republic.
In the Latin American and Caribbean grouping, where 126 votes were needed to win, Costa Rica obtained 116 and the Dominican Republic received 72 in the first round, and in the second round the vote was 119 for Costa Rica and 70 for the Dominican Republic.
Soon after the result for the second round came out, both the Dominican Republic and the Czech Republic abandoned the fight, clearing the way for Croatia and Costa Rica to replace Slovakia and Peru when their terms expire at the end of this year.
Kerim praised "the spirit of good will and mutual trust" among member states, singling out the Czech Republic and the Dominican Republic.
The members were elected according to an agreed geographic allocation, which awards three seats to African and Asian countries, one to Eastern European States, and one to the Latin American and Caribbean region during this year's round of elections.
Council elections are held by secret ballot in the General Assembly, and a winning candidate requires a two-thirds majority of ballots of members present and voting. Formal balloting takes place even in those regions where there is only one candidate per available seat.
The Council's five other non-permanent members, whose terms end on Dec. 31, 2008, are Belgium, Indonesia, Italy, Panama and South Africa. The five permanent members are China, France, Russia, Britain and United States.
Last year's election saw the third-longest battle in the UN history for a seat on the council. It ended with victory for Panama on the 48th ballot after U.S.-backed Guatemala and Venezuela led by anti-American President Hugo Chavez withdrew to end the deadlock for a Latin American seat.