Published 16 October 2014

With 181 votes in favour, Venezuela wins a seat at the UN Security Council. Angola, Malaysia, New Zealand are also elected members. Spain won the last seat in a separate vote.

As of January 1, 2015 Venezuela will sit alongside the five permanent UNSC members – Russia, the United Kingdom, France, China, and the United States – along with other non-permanent members taking up rotating seats. It will be for the two years period from 2015-2017.

As Venezuela replaces Argentina, Angola will represent Africa as Rwanda bows out, Malaysia will fill the Asian seat when South Korea leaves and New Zealand will take Australia’s place. In a different vote Spain won the last seat and will replace Luxembourg.

“This triumph is dedicated to Hugo Chávez,” Venezuela’s foreign minister Rafael Ramirez Carreño said while announcing the win. “It’s also the result of a long and sustained effort of president Nicolas Maduro when he decided to move forward with its model of the peaceful settlement of conflicts, which has been so successful domestically.”

He also added that, “The historic success of Venezuela shows clearly the wide support that our revolution has internationally, as a supporter of peace, social justice, solidarity, and respect of human rights.”

Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro also thanked the international community. Through his twitter account he said, “Victory of our homeland in the U.N., I thank, in the name of our people, the 181 countries that supported us for U.N. Security Council.”

Victoria de la Patria en la ONU,doy las Gracias en nombre de nuestro Pueblo a los 181 países que nos apoyaron para el Consejo de Seguridad..

— Nicolás Maduro (@NicolasMaduro)octubre 16, 2014

While Venezuela, Angola and Malaysia ran unopposed in the vote, Spain, Turkey and New Zealand mounted fierce international lobbying campaigns over the remaining two seats. There are five other rotating places, but these wont come up for re-election until next year. Those seats are currently held by Jordan, Lithuania, Nigeria, Chad and Chile.

To win a term on the council, rotating members must secure two thirds of votes cast by the U.N. General Assembly (UNGA). The vote is conducted by a secret ballot.

Venezuela’s victory comes eight years after the country made another bid for the rotating seat, but faced stiff competition from Guatemala. Caracas’ candidacy was also opposed by the United States, which mounted an international campaign to pressure other U.N. states to condemn the Venezuelan bid. After a historic three weeks of indecision and 48 rounds of voting, both Guatemala and Venezuela withdrew, and Panama was handed the position.

One of the few other times the Latin American seat was locked in a comparable tug-o-war was in 1979, when Cuba and Colombia struggled over the position for three months and 154 rounds of voting.

The UNSC effectively decides U.N. policy on issues ranging from peacekeeping operations in countries like Venezuela’s neighbor Haiti, to sanctions on Venezuela’s ally, Iran.

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